October 2012 O.Henry

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M A G A Z I N E Volume 2, No. 6

“I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090

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Tom Chitty has long been the Triad’s go-to guy in real estate. With 29 years of experience, this southern gentleman is known for his integrity, honesty and professionalism. Tom and his highly qualified team take no client for granted. When you are ready to work with a realtor who genuinely cares about you, work with Tom. It’s like having an old friend welcome you home.

Jim Dodson, Editor jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director andie@ohenrymag.com Ashley Wahl, Associate Editor 336.617.0090 • ashley@ohenrymag.com Cassie Butler, Photographer/Graphic Designer Kira Schoenfelder, Graphic Designer Contributing Editors David C. Bailey, Maria Johnson, Jim Schlosser Photographers Sam Froelich, Cassie Butler Contributors Harry Blair, Jane Borden, Tom Bryant, Jim Clark, Tim Dancy, Frank Daniels III, Lynn Donovan, Katie Hall, Miriam Delaney Heard, Sara King, Meridith Martens, Stephen E. Smith, Valerie Nieman, Dale Nixon, Mary Novitsky, Deborah Salomon, Noah Salt, Stacey Van Berkel, Robert Watson


David Woronoff, Publisher Tom Chitty & Associates was the top producing sales team for Prudential Yost & Little in 2011.

TomChitty &Associates Direct Line: 336-420-2836 Email: tom@tomchitty.com Website: www.tomchitty.com

4 O.Henry

October 2012

Advertising Sales Marty Hefner, Sales & Circulation Director 336.707.6893, mhefner@ohenrymag.com Hattie Aderholdt, 336.601.1188 Kathy Murphy, 540.525.0975 Advertising Graphic Design Stacey Yongue, 910.693.2509 stacey@thepilot.com ©Copyright 2012. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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October 2012


59 Riding a Motorcycle

Poetry By Robert Watson

60 The Curious Tale of Mr. Jeff and Miss Betsy

By David C. Bailey

Chinquapin’s Eccentric Royal Family

66 The Ghosts of Aycock Auditorium

By Jim Schlosser

Still hauntingly beautiful after 85 years

The 2012 O.Henry Magazine 70 Short Story Contest Winners

9 Hometown My October Friend By Jim Dodson 14 Short Stories Your Guide to the Good Life 19 the City Muse Good Belgian Ale and the Voice of a Blind Angel By Ashley Wahl 23 The Omnivorous Reader The Final Liberation of Jack Johnson

By Stephen E. Smith

27 gate city icons Welcome to Dreamland By Ashley Wahl 31 Spirits Whiskey in the Wind By Frank Daniels III 33 Hophead How to Drink Beer By David C. Bailey eater 37 Serial When Fast Food Was Cool By David C. Bailey 41 Street Level The Wild Night By Jim Schlosser

The Stone Bull

45 Hitting Home Good Clean Entertainment

Music in the Streets

47 The sporting life Arctic Interlude

By Miriam Delaney Heard

By Katie Hall

Deadline By Tim Dancy

Poplar Hall 76 By Jim Schlosser

Inside the Grande Dame of Irving Park

October Almanac 85 By Noah Salt

Great pumpkins and beautiful bats

By Dale Nixon

By Tom Bryant

51 Artist at work The Artful Archeologist By Valerie Nieman

55 Life of Jane A Real Knockout By Jane Borden

86 Arts Calendar 100 GreenScene 111 Life’s Funny Squeezebox and Me By Maria Johnson

112 O.Henry Ending Robert Watson is Everywhere By Jim Clark

Cover image by Stacey Van Berkel 6 O.Henry

October 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Š D. YURMAN 2012

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My October Friend

HomeTown Left: Pat McDaid and Jim Dodson performing at a 1971 Grimsley pep rally

by Jim DoDSoN


e’s my oldest friend and might be the closest thing I know to a Renaissance man: an expert fly-fisherman and serious outdoorsman, a crack businessman, a devoted husband and father, a student of history and philosophy, serious oenophile, respectable golfer, skilled guitarist, even a beloved Sunday School teacher. Not to mention one competitive SOB. That’s probably why I love him so much, my old friend Pat McDaid. True friendship, Aristotle said, is like one soul in two bodies. We’ve been needling and comforting each other, sharing life’s unanticipated ups and downs for nigh on forty years, almost since the late summer day my family moved to the north side of Greensboro and I wandered through a honeysuckle hedge and discovered a scrawny kid about my age shooting hoops at the end of his driveway. He looked like the Irish leprechaun on the Lucky Charms TV commercial. “Hey,” he said to me, “want to play horse?” “Sure,” I said, not knowing a single soul in the neighborhood. So we played. I don’t remember who won. Pat probably won. He had a better jump shot than me, though I was half a head taller. Even before proper introductions were made we played a second game, then went down to his basement to shoot a game of pool. We were both going into ninth grade and hormones — mine at least — were raging. Without any warning, his pretty kid sister Susie sauntered downstairs in search of her bathing suit, dressed only in her flowered underwear. My blood jumped. Her jaw dropped. She shrieked back up the steps promising to murder her brother. “That’s just my sister Susie,” Pat nonchalantly explained with a laugh. I went back the next day to listen to a Temptations record and hopefully see more of Susie. We played more pool and shot hoops. Pat in fact had two other sisters, one older (Jane), and another even younger (Carol). His mom was a nice but formal lady and his dad — Big Pat — was a super-friendly Irishman who owned the major electrical supply in town. The family attended Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church. “My dad hopes I’ll be a priest someday,” my new friend confided over Chinese checkers one rainy afternoon at my house. Not long after this, Pat’s grandmother was visiting and I was invited to Sunday lunch, with sweet little Carol, the youngest, seated next to me. The blessing had barely ended when Carol broke wind with gusto. Every head swiveled in our direction. Her mother wasn’t amused, “Carol, dear, what does a proper young lady say?” Carol thought for a moment and grinned. “Oh, right. Safeties!” The table broke up. Pat and I laughed about that for years. We were in each other’s houses and lives constantly after this, playing board games or shooting hoops or quar-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

terbacking fierce neighborhood pick-up games against each other that always went way past dark. I was Sonny Jurgensen, he was Fran Tarkenton. Pat threw a tighter spiral but I could throw the ball farther. We argued passionately about every team, every sport, every season, every player. When a second October arrived we went dove hunting out at my father’s childhood friend Henry Tucker’s farm out on New Garden Road, and Pat, a better shot, bagged twice as many doves as I did, probably because I always hated killing anything. There were really only three areas in which my best friend simply couldn’t top me. To this day I call them the three G’s — for guitar, golf and God. Because I started early and studied classical guitar for a time and wound up teaching at Mr. Weinstein’s music shop on weekends, I enjoyed a big head-start on Pat’s growing interest in music. I began playing golf in earnest around age 9 after swim practice at the Bur-Mil Club, punching around the cute little par-3 course half a million times before my dad permitted me to step up to Green Valley Golf Club. By the time Pat and I started playing the “goat tracks” around town in high school, I regularly shot in the mid to high 70s, at least ten strokes better than my best friend. He was more interested in running track, anyway, and lettered in cross-country. Unlike Pat’s father, mine had no design on his son becoming a clergyman, which may explain why I never had a problem believing in a loving creator. My old man — whom I nicknamed Opti the Mystic owing to his upbeat nature and love of a divine presence he believed was manifest everywhere but particularly in nature — served as the moderator of the adult men’s Sunday School for more than two decades. Not surprisingly, he introduced my older brother Dickie and me to camping and fishing at an early stage of life and encouraged us to follow Scouting all the way to Eagle rank. The night I received my Eagle at the Guilford Friends Meeting House, my pal Pat showed up to needle me and show his support. After that, we camped and fished and hiked all over the Blue Ridge in each other’s company. In high school, we both made the Queensmen, a folk group from the senior choir. I loaned him one of my guitars, taught him a few chords, and soon he’d bought his own guitar and was off and running. Pat was in Key Club and ran track, I was president of Interact Club and played golf. He could outrun me but I still murdered him at golf. We played all over the Triad, snuck on Starmount just before dark, and argued endlessly about orange golf balls and Mr. Nixon’s Cambodia policy. In college at Chapel Hill, Pat became something of a rebel, grew his hair October 2012

O.Henry 9


and protested the war, becoming a priest no longer an option. Big Pat, I suspect, was none too happy. Down at East Carolina, I also grew my hair and wrote for the school paper and would have enlisted in the Air Force had my poor eyesight not kept me out. We still saw each other occasionally on football weekends but every year we seemed to drift further apart, politically and socially. Even so, when my girlfriend since high school was murdered up in the mountains, Pat showed up at her funeral to lend me support. I considered going on to seminary in Chicago but instead moved to Atlanta and worked for the newspaper’s Sunday magazine. Pat went to work for Big Pat and married a girl who had a rock band. During one trip home to Greensboro, he invited me over to the tiny house he and his wife shared. She was away, playing a gig, always on the road, it turned out. It was a tough time for my old friend. Pat and his dad had officially parted ways. I never quite got the whole story. When Big Pat was sober, you’d never met a nicer guy. But when he wasn’t, his son Pat was the easiest moving target and his biggest disappointment. Sometimes he fired him and later failed to remember it. Pat left his dad and found a job selling light bulbs, often stopping in to chat with my old man — who thought of him as a third son. Eventually he found a great mentor and became an outstanding manufacturer’s rep, a born salesman, a true rainmaker. I was pleased to be in Pat’s second marriage to his beautiful wife Terry, as an usher who could still kick his butt at golf and play the guitar better. (Not that I was competitive or anything.) By then I was living in Maine with a wife, two sprouts and a very demanding job that often took me around the world. But irrespective of time, give us five minutes together, we were boys of October trying to outdo each other in the dusk. Pat’s passion for guitars developed into a full-blown addiction. He built a special guitar room at his house and even recorded some outstanding original compositions. He’d also taken up fly-fishing with a vengeance and had purchased land in the

10 O.Henry

October 2012

mountains where he planned to build a cabin — something my father and I had long talked of doing. One day Pat went to check on his father and found Big Pat unconscious on the floor of his childhood home. His sisters were living elsewhere with busy lives of their own. Didn’t surprise me in the least that Pat became his father’s primary caregiver, his steadfast keeper as the disease deepened and took its toll. As best friends do, we talked fairly regularly on the phone — he from his car somewhere on the highway, me from my office over the barn on the coast of Maine — about politics, books, our fathers, wives and children, you name it — the only friend I ever shared so much with. Time’s passage had made Pat something of an enlightened Libertarian, me an Olympia Snowe Republican. His daughter Emily and my son Jack were born the same year. We went on family vacations together and took rowdy guys-only golf trips to Ireland and England, where Pat’s game suddenly equaled mine. I had to work much too hard, in fact, to beat the little SOB. We were in Ireland together one fine autumn evening where we happened upon a gorgeous stag in the dusk when he began telling me about the youth Sunday School class he’d agreed to teach at Christ Methodist Church, the church around the corner from my childhood home. “I look at these kids and I think, ‘That was us at one time,’” he said. “I wish there were things someone had honestly told us about life — how you’ll go through hard times but that’s OK and even vital in order to think and ask the right questions.” So, in the end, he took a page from my dad’s book and became a priest of sorts — albeit an innovative Methodist youth Sunday School teacher. During one of my frequent trips home, shortly before I moved home from New England, I sat in on one of Pat’s Sunday classes and was deeply impressed, but hardly surprised, by the way he wove challenging questions and

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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powerful spiritual insights into his class discussion. Last October, during our 40th high school reunion, a former classmate pulled me aside and asked if Pat and I were still best of chums. She remembered how the two of us once played a school pep rally dressed up like moonshining rednecks and were competitive in everything. “By the way,” she added, “I loved your book about fly-fishing with your daughter across America. I just watched the movie.” The book she meant is called Faithful Travelers, which indeed was made into a nice little cable film a few years ago. I’d been fly-fishing in Maine for almost two decades. But after he took up the sport, Pat flatly outdid me by joining an elite fishing club and becoming an expert at stalking wild trout. When I told her this she laughed. “You two never stop, do you?” “Nope. And unfortunately I can’t even kick his ass in golf, guitar and the great outdoors anymore.” I told her about the rustic cabin Pat had constructed on a mountainside in southwest Virginia, a piece of heaven where he rigged up motion-sensitive cameras to film the local wildlife. Over the years he’s followed the lives of a mother black bear and her cub and video-tracked a pregnant bobcat and watched a flock of wild turkeys ever expand. The only shooting my October friend does now involves high-speed cameras and occasionally a compound bow. “Did you know,” she added seriously, “that he’s also a fantastic Sunday School teacher? He’s taught the high school kids at our church forever. He’s like a legend to some parents and kids.” I had to smile at this, thinking how boyhood rivalry had grown beautifully into seasoned wisdom. St. Augustine was a such an effective spokesman for Christianity, after all was said and done, because he’d led such a rowdy younger life. And even Jesus seemed to see the potential in fishermen. A few days after the reunion, Pat invited me to meet him at his “secret” fishing club in the hills. I was coming back from speaking at a book festival in Asheville and soon we were thigh-deep in a cold rushing Blue Ridge stream, lost in the pageant-fire of another October, though hardly boys and in the autumn of our own days now, as always talking about everything from our two recent college graduates to the state of a world that always seems to be hovering over the abyss. At one point, I asked him what it is about his long-running Sunday School gig that keeps him doing it year after year. He thought a moment and smiled, making a beautiful roll-cast to an emerald pool. “I’ve probably committed every mistake imaginable and survived all sorts of disappointment and I’m not afraid to share what I’ve learned from it. “In that respect, I suppose, I’m a crusty Christian. I’ve got a lot of battle scars but faith endures and I find there is still truth in asking questions. So I stir things up a bit — just like Opti the Mystic did in his class. Life has taught me that a spiritual life — a belief in something larger and more mysterious than all of this — is critical. If you don’t ask, you don’t learn. If you don’t learn, you don’t evolve and become who you’re meant to be.” He glanced at me up the stream and added wryly, “You know who told me that, don’t you?” I knew before he said it. He meant my father. Two October friends, one soul. When I said this, he laughed. “No, dumb-ass. You said that to me years ago. We do the same thing. The difference between us is — you write it, I talk it.” Making a cast, I tried to think of what to say. “Yeah, but I can still whip your ass at golf if I have to.” “Dream on, old buddy. By the way, you’re scaring the fish.” I moseyed up the stream to fish by myself for a while, grateful for my October friend. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October 2012

O.Henry 13


short stories Your Guide to the Good Life in the Triad

Civic threads

Earlier this year, when she was in the final stages of lung cancer, Barbara Clapp presented her son Michael with a business idea: a company that would make dignified, comfortable and convenient clothes for chemotherapy patients. Barbara died soon after that conversation, but Michael and his sister, Aerli Austen, have acted on their mom’s idea. With the help of family and friends, they’ve launched a Greensboro company called One Day Apparel, named for Barbara’s belief in living one day at a time.

The company is selling T-shirts to fund cancer research and support the production of sweaters designed to keep cancer patients warm in chilly chemotherapy rooms while providing easy access for treatment. The fundraising Ts cost $25 and can be purchased at the company’s website, onedayapparel.com; at the First Friday Indie Market (corner of South Elm Street and MLK Drive on the first Friday night of each month); at Design Archives, 342 S. Elm Street; and soon at Civic Threads, 527 S. Elm Street. The Ts show the company’s logo with a finch perched atop the numeral 1; Barbara loved to watch finches at her bird feeders. Michael says One Day hopes to have a chemo sweater on the market within a year. They’re presently working with manufacturers to complete prototypes of the garment their mom envisioned. “Our goal is to do something that she would be really proud of,” he says. For more information, contact the company at (336) 373-1188. MJ

14 O.Henry

October 2012

the art of Family

Beverly McIver’s career as a painter was taking off when her mother died of cancer, leaving behind the question of how to care for McIver’s intellectually disabled sister, Renee. So McIver, who grew up in a Greensboro housing project in the 1960s and ’70s, assumed responsibility, as she had promised her mother she would. “I could never have imagined how challenging this would be,” says McIver, who taught at Durham’s North Carolina Central University before moving to New York recently. Renee now lives in a Greensboro apartment, supported by a network of family, friends and church members. The sisters’ story is the subject of a documentary, Raising Renee, which will be shown at 1:45 p.m. on October 5 on premium cable channel HBO2. McIver — whose work can be found in the collections of the North Carolina Museum of Art and the Weatherspoon Art Museum at UNCG — will talk about the sisters’ lives, as well as the documentary, at an October 9 fundraiser for the ARC of Greensboro, a nonprofit that serves individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. The event, which includes dinner, will be held at the Emerald Event Center, 2000 East Wendover Avenue. For tickets, call (336) 373-1076 or go to www.arcg.org. MJ

Oh, Brothers

Greensboro’s Stephen Martin is quick to say that he has never considered becoming a Trappist monk, but he does believe the brothers have something to say — even if they barely talk, which is where Martin, a writer, comes in. In his new book, The Messy Quest for Meaning: Five Catholic Practices for Finding Your Vocation ($14.95 paperback, Ave Maria Press), Martin relays the principles that help monks live with purpose and meaning. “Their insights are universal,” he says. “People who aren’t Catholic, or even religious, seem to get something from the book.” Martin first visited Mepkin Abbey, a monastery near Charleston, South Carolina, when he was a student at Duke University. Fascinated, he returned several times to adopt the brothers’ schedule and wisdom. Their insights helped him cope with a personal crisis, and Martin started writing essays about spirituality in his early 30s. His book and blog, messyquest. com, are outgrowths of that work. A former newspaper reporter, Martin says that people can have many vocations, or callings. Good thing for him. He is married and the father of two young children; a dedicated Catholic; the director of global public relations for the Center for Creative Leadership in Greensboro; and the co-author of a column about social entrepreneurship for The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh. MJ

trick or treat?

In anticipation of Halloween, maybe you ought to drop by the Natural Science Center of Greensboro and check out Accidental Mummies of Guanajuato, a collection of thirty naturally preserved mummies — some of which are so well preserved that they’re still wearing their socks — that were exhumed from their crypts between 1865 and 1989. Learn why these perfectly preserved beings were dug up in the first place, and what forensic technology reveals about their lives and culture. Remains — pardon the pun — on display through December 30. Admission is $18 for adults, $17 for seniors and children. Natural Science Center, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Information: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org. AW

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Farm Fresh

“Think local, buy local, be local,” proclaims Triad Local First, a network of local, independently owned businesses. TLF is committed to promoting whatever is homegrown in the Greensboro area, especially our businesses, through advertising, consumer education and local investment. Which is all well and good, but how about “eating local,” as in an appetizer of fried green tomatoes on corn bread with Goat Lady cheese; a soup of pumpkin steeped in warm spices, served in pumpkin halves; grilled pork tenderloin flanked with squashand-tomato Provencale; ending with apple tarte tatin with luscious vanilla crème Anglaise, all prepared by French-trained chef Reto Biaggi. That’s what a select group of diners will tuck into at The Farm Off Church Street, with the blue skies overhead and fields and forests as a backdrop. But don’t expect paper plates, plastic forks and Dixie cups. China, crystal and flatware for this “dinner party with a purpose,” to be held October 7 from 4:30–7:30 p.m., will come from Replacements Ltd. Tickets are $125. Mail a check to TLF, 1805 Pembroke Road, Greensboro 27408 or click on www.triadlocalfirst.com. DCB

House Party

sauce of the Month

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, Bill Staley competed regularly in WKRR’s Rock 92 Barbecue Hog Wild Cook-Offs. One day his partner, who always supplied the sauce, couldn’t make it and bada bing, bada boom, a little BS was born, as in BS Original Cooking Sauce. It’s a sweet-and-sour, savory ketchup-based sauce with no corn syrup, MSG or preservatives. When enough people told Staley he ought to bottle it, he did. This year, after being laid off from his job in March, it’s been BS 24/7 for Staley — as in BS Marinade, BS Carolina Vinaigrette, BS Country Ranch and, now in time for holiday hams, Staley’s newly formulated BS Mustard Sauce. Tart enough straight out of the bottle to make you shut your eyes and almost hot enough to make them water, here’s a sauce with a real attitude. Slather it on sandwiches made from leftover turkey. Or add �3/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4� teaspoon of cloves to a half cup of BS Mustard, and you’ve got a glaze that will turn your country ham into a city pig that will have your guests squealing for more. And that’s no BS. Available in 25 local stores. See www.bssauce.com. DCB

Open Doors

Liz Seymour, executive director of the Interactive Resource Center, Greensboro’s day center for the homeless, has a theory about why hard times seem to spur artistic expression: “I think it may have to do with the fact that sometimes people hold back on their own artistic ambitions because they’re afraid to take a risk. When you’ve been through something really hard, it’s easier to take a risk because, you think, ‘What else can happen?’” Whatever the reason, Seymour has been awed by the originality and quality of art produced by IRC’s clients, which will be on display at Artstock’s Community Art Show at 407 East Washington Street through November 7. The show is also designed to preview work by Artstock’s 50 members, who for 15 years have been opening their studios annually to the public. Artstock studios will be open on Saturday, October 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, October 14, from 1—5 p.m. (Look for the red balloons), and the idea of the preview is to give the public a chance to make a list of the artist studios they may want to visit. The public can also see artists at work at IRC. Seymour says she appreciates how artists from Artstock have encouraged IRC clients and provided them with art supplies. “It’s a real validation for them,” she says. “I’ve had a number of people say, ‘I’ve always loved to do art but I’ve never thought of myself as an artist until now.” Info: (336) 332-0824 or www.artstocktour.com. DCB

Kay Cashion is a Guilford County commissioner, interior designer and, least known, co-chair of The State Capitol Foundation Inc., which seeks to preserve North Carolina’s Capitol in Raleigh. The Capitol was built in the early 1840s, designed by Alexander Jackson Davis of New York. While in Raleigh, Davis came to Greensboro and turned a simple farmhouse called Blandwood into an Italian villa/mansion that’s now a National Historic Landmark. For years, Cashion’s foundation has made improvements to the Capitol, which while no longer the home of the House and Senate, still has the governor working out of an office in the southwest corner of the first floor. Last year, for example, the

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Short Stories

foundation bought new carpet for the House and Senate chambers, still used for ceremonial purposes and visited by 100,000 people a year. Cashion would like to see Greensboro companies and perhaps individuals become sponsors of the foundation’s 2012 Oyster Roast fundraiser in Raleigh, which she calls “Shuckin’ and Shaggin.” It will be held Friday, October 26, on the Capitol grounds from 7–11 p.m. and will include oysters and shrimp, North Carolina-produced chicken, pork, beer and wine. Music will be provided by the Embers, everyone’s favorite beach music band. Single tickets are $75. And sponsorships can be acquired with a donation of $25,000, which makes one a “Marquee” sponsor; for $10,00 an “Anthemion” sponsor; for $5,000, a “Crown” sponsor; for $2,500, a “Corinthian” sponsor; and for $1,000, an “Ionic’’ sponsor. Designation comes with a package of benefits. The foundation also seeks new members, who are called “Pillars of the Capitol.” Membership levels start at $20 a year. The money goes for many purposes, including information sent to schoolteachers about the Capitol’s history in preparation for class tours of the building. For more information on sponsorships, memberships and tickets for the Oyster Roast, call (919) 733-4994 or click on www.ncstatecapitol.org. JS October 2012

O.Henry 15



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Day of the Dead

Mexican marigolds, homemade tamales, sweet bread, copal resin incense . . . if the smells don’t beckon the souls of the living, surely the dead will be surprised. On November 1 and 2, visit Casa Azul’s Dia de los Muertos Altar Exhibit at the Greensboro Cultural Center. Witness an Aztec ritual that encourages family and friends to gather ‘round and pray for their deceased loved ones, who are believed to return home and visit once a year. Flickering candles help the dead find their way home, as do sweet-smelling flowers, while the colorful altars brim with various offerings — warm meals, chairs in which to rest, and soap to cleanse the weary spirit. Marvel at the details. But please don’t eat the candied pumpkins. They weren’t put there for you. For more information, visit casaazulgreensboro.org. AW Photographs by Lynn Donovan

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October 2012

O.Henry 17

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Good Belgian Ale and the Voice of a Blind Angel

The City Muse

By Ashley Wahl


t 9 p.m., Arabic hip-hop plays as hipsters amble from the bar to the leather sofas, and from the leather sofas back to the bar. It’s a typical Thursday evening at Sessions. The music is loud, just the way this crowd likes it, until a spunky twenty-something who calls herself Jelly takes the stage. Beast — that’s what people call him — mans the soundboard. When a funky bass line fades to silence, Jelly takes her cue. “Sessions, how y’all doing?” asks the host, who wears her curly ethnic hair in a feminine Mohawk. “Welcome to singer-songwriter night, where you will find an amalgamation of local talent. . .” Someone makes a playful jab at her choice of vocabulary. “Look it up, y’all,” Jelly quips with her Long Island dialect before laying down the laws: Number one, no cover songs — “I will personally boo you offstage if you try to pull a stunt like that here.” Number two, you may be on stage for fifteen minutes, or play three songs — whichever comes first. Number three, if you’re using an amp, please turn it off when you’re finished. “Oh, and make sure y’all drink,” she adds before stepping off the stage. People amble from the leather sofas to the bar, from the bar back to the leather sofas. The muse nurses a Belgian-style ale that weighs in at just under 9 percent alcohol content.

l Beast stands with tattooed arms crossed, waiting for silence — a tough task to achieve in a room full of people who love beer. Unlike Jelly, whose stage name by no means mirrors any of her physical characteristics, Beast’s physical appearance matches his moniker. He runs his fingers over his long, braided beard, and then performs a Miles Davisinspired piece called “Bitches Brewin.” Metaphors and imagery are delivered with hypnotic cadence. But like a true artist, Beast has mastered the use of negative space. His poetry is fueled by the breaks in his rhythm.

l One act, a duo from a band called Simply Stupendous, performs a narrative piece about domestic violence from the perspective of a woman. No one seems to take notice when the vocalist reads the lyrics from his smartphone. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

l A blind woman named Rainy makes her way toward the stage, sliding her walking stick back and forth across the creaky wooden floor before her. People whisper as she tunes her guitar. But when she begins to sing, for the first time all night, everyone listens. “I cry every time she plays,” says Sessions owner Allen Tyndall. “She’s like an angel.” Rainy whistles during an instrumental solo. “If I were Stevie Wonder, I’d be playing the harmonica right now,” says Rainy. “I just love the way he plays.” A seasoned performer, she chats between songs. “Have you ever received a gift that just went way beyond your expectations?” she asks as she begins the prelude to her next song, “Sweet Surprise.” “Listening to you!” a young man yells from the crowd. Instantly, the room explodes with clapping, cheering and whistling. Rainy is at loss for words, although, in this moment, no one could hear her if she weren’t.

l The muse swallows the last warm sips of Belgian ale and dries her eyes, watery from some combination of awe and alcohol. “You know, there’s a joke that nothing is ‘sessionable’ at Sessions,” Allen says of his coffee-shop-meets-craft-beer-hall on Spring Garden Street. By definition, “session beer” has a low enough alcohol content to encourage the drinking of multiple beers in a single sitting. Not here. Most of the brews you’ll find on tap weigh in at over 8 percent. So, how did this place get its name? Could have something to do with these weekly indie music sessions, which Allen says were inspired by Nashville’s Bluebird Café, where, by the way, he has performed three times. But he’s yet to play onstage here. “I’m actually a bit shy,” he says, keeping busy behind the bar. OH Our muse, O.Henry associate editor Ashley Wahl, is a born wanderer.

October 2012

O.Henry 19

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The Omnivorous Reader

The Final Liberation of Jack Johnson Is it time to pardon America’s most celebrated and controversial heavyweight champion?

By STePHeN e. SmiTH


n a rainy autumn afternoon in 1964, my father and I were traveling on US 1 north of Raleigh when he pulled the car onto the shoulder of the road. We sat for a moment before I asked, “Why are we stopped?” “This is where Jack Johnson died,” he said and went on to explain that Johnson had been the heavyweight champion of the world in the early years of the 20th century — a proud black man struggling to survive in Jim Crow America. At a time when interracial marriage was taboo, he’d been married at least three times to white women, a social transgression that led to his being found guilty of violating the Mann Act. My father knew everything about boxing — names, dates, minutiae too obscure to fathom. He was the boxing coach at the Naval Academy, and for many years, the Everlast corporation featured his photo on their advertising materials. So he knew his stuff. “In 1946, Johnson stopped in Raleigh to eat, and he was refused service at a diner,” my father continued, “so he jumped in his car and sped out of town. He lost control of the vehicle right about here and was fatally injured.” We sat quietly for a few moments, as if to pay tribute to the late champion; then my father pulled the car onto the rain-slick highway, and we went on our way. I’ve been a reader of Jack Johnson biographies ever since. Theresa Runstedtler’s Jack Johnson, Rebel Sojourner: Boxing in the Shadow of the Global Color Line, the latest and most academic of the Johnson biographies, is an extensively researched exploration of the many and varied racial attitudes that shaped Johnson’s life, the lives of his contemporaries, both black and white, and how those attitudes followed Johnson as he fought his way around the world — and, more importantly, how those same repressive attitudes reverberate in contemporary culture. Runstedtler has not, however, written a full-blown biography detailing Johnson’s seemingly endless adventures. Her concern is primarily academic: “The surprising scope of Johnson’s high-profile career throughout Europe, Australia, and the Americas obliges us to think beyond the oftenstagnant domestic squabbles over reformist solutions to racial disparities,” Runstedtler writes. “The controversies surrounding his far-reaching travels highlight the intrinsic relationships between the rise of global color line and the expansion of Western imperialism and capitalism. Even now, at a moment when many politicians have declared the dawn of the ‘color-blind’ and

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

‘multicultural’ era, racial inequality remains a defining feature of the contemporary world.” To this end, Runstedtler focuses on Johnson’s much publicized prizefights in Sydney, London, Cape Town, Paris, Havana and Mexico City, and examines public reaction, much of it journalistic, to Johnson’s sojourn in those cities. In Australia, for example, the public initially received Johnson as a minstrel, a harmless object of tomfoolery, but during his two-year stay he was “transformed from an amusing spectacle to a serious threat in the eyes of many white Australians.” And she also analyzes efforts in America and the British Empire to ban the showing of the film of Johnson defeating James Jeffries, the Great White Hope. Much attention is given to the relationship between black fighters and the French people, who seemed always to welcome black celebrities. She writes: “Black American prizefighters exemplified the fundamental paradox of transatlantic modernism for their combination of African primitivism and raw New World energy which became the basis for cultural regeneration of white France.” In 1920, Johnson surrendered to U.S. authorities. “Foreign lands are all right for the foreigner,” Johnson is quoted as saying, “and I have no complaint to make regarding the treatment I have received in many different countries . . . but I am an American through and through, and no country, however generous, can take the place of my country.” He served a year in prison. Readers are likely to find that Runstedtler spends too much time on the rise and fall of “Battling” Siki, a light heavyweight boxer born in Senegal. Although Siki’s experiences with the white color line were similar to those suffered by Johnson and his struggle to rise above white oppression also met with failure, the shift in focus away from Johnson is an unnecessary distraction. Of particular interest are recent efforts to obtain a pardon for Johnson. Senator John McCain and Representative Peter King have been Johnson’s primary supporters, attempting to “expunge a racially motivated abuse of the prosecutorial authority of the federal government from the annals of criminal justice in the United States.” A resolution pardoning Johnson passed the House and Senate, but in December 2009, the Justice Department announced October 2012

O.Henry 23

Opus 2012-2013

Brought to you, FREE of charge!

by The Music Center, City Arts of the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Department For details about the concert programs, please visit our website at www.city-arts.org • 336-373-2549 • music@greensboro-nc.gov


GROUP Greensboro Percussion Ensemble Mike Lasley, Conductor

Greensboro Tarheel Chorus Greg Zinke, Conductor

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Philharmonia of Greensboro Choral Society of Greensboro Jon Brotherton, Conductor

Greensboro Percussion Ensembles Mike Lasley, Conductor New, unwrapped toys are being collected for FOX8 Gifts for Kids.

Greensboro Oratorio Singers Jay O. Lambeth, Conductor

Greensboro Youth Chorus Ann Doyle and Nana Wolfe-Hill, Conductors New, unwrapped toys are being collected for FOX8 Gifts for Kids.

Philharmonia of Greensboro, Pillow Pops Concert Dancers from the Dance Project: the School at City Arts

Greensboro Big Band, Sweet Sounds Mike Day, Conductor

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Saturday, October 13, 2012

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Friday, November 2, 2012

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Saturday, November 3, 2012

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Saturday, November 17, 2012

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Thursday, December 6, 2012

7 PM

War Memorial Auditorium 1921 West Lee Street

Saturday, December 15, 2012

7:30 PM

First Presbyterian Church 617 North Elm Street

Sunday, February 3, 2013

3 PM

Bur-Mil Clubhouse 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road

Thursday, February 14, 2013

6:30 PM

Bur-Mil Clubhouse 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road

Saturday, March 9, 2013

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2 PM

Saturday, April 13, 2013

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Saturday, April 20, 2013

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Saturday, May 4, 2013

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Friday, May 10, 2013

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Friday, May 17, 2013

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Saturday, May 18, 2013

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Stepping Tones The Music Center will present an afternoon of music in the beautiful Greensboro Arboretum. Drop by anytime during 2-4 pm to hear talented ensembles from The Music Center.

Philharmonia of Greensboro Triad Pride Men’s Chorus Woodson E. Faulkner III, Conductor

Choral Society of Greensboro Jon Brotherton, Conductor

Greensboro Percussion Ensembles Mike Lasley, Conductor

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Greensboro Youth Brass Ensemble Greensboro Youth Chorus Ann Doyle and Nana Wolfe-Hill, Conductors

24 O.Henry

October 2012

Greensboro Arboretum 401 Ashland Drive

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


that no posthumous pardon would be granted Johnson. Most Americans have been made aware of Jack Johnson through Ken Burns’ 2005 documentary Unforgivable Blackness, which is available from libraries and online. Geoffrey Ward’s book by the same title is an excellent biography for anyone seeking to understand Johnson’s story. An able and intelligent storyteller, Johnson wrote My Life and Battles and Jack Johnson, In the Ring and Out, which recount the many trials and tribulations that befell him because of his color. After suffering a lifetime of white oppression, he was philosophical: “I am astounded when I

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realize that there are few men in any period of the world’s history, who have led a more varied or intense existence than I.” He was right about that. At a time when the University of North Carolina is under intense scrutiny for offering black studies courses that were allegedly never taught, Runstedtler’s book is a timely reminder that African and Afro-American Studies are a necessary component of the college curriculum. In the almost 50 years since my father told me about Jack Johnson, I’ve often driven by the location in Franklin County where Johnson was fatally injured. I keep hoping I’ll encounter an NC historical marker that reads: “Jack Johnson, the first African-American to earn the title Heavyweight Champion of the World, was fatally injured here in an automobile accident on June 10, 1946.” It seems to me the citizens of North Carolina owe him that. OH Stephen Smith’s most recent book of poetry is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at travisses@hotmail.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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October 2012

O.Henry 25

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Gate City Icons

Welcome to Dreamland 85 years old this month, the venerable Carolina Theatre — once hailed as the “Showplace of the Carolinas” — is still the Gate City’s most dazzling architectural treasure

By aSHley WaHl

PhotograPh By sam FroeliCh


uring her stay at Elsewhere, visiting artist Paula Damasceno discovered magic inside a former-thrift-store-turned museum on South Elm Street. She found it among musty smelling spools of fabric, doll parts, old board games, broken records — each item a fragment of a larger cultural narrative. But when Damasceno stumbled upon a historic movie palace on South Greene Street, the Brazilian filmmaker devoted her residency at Elsewhere to telling a different story. Her documentary, Carolina 85, tells a brief history of the Carolina Theatre, a product of the Golden Twenties that stands as a testament to the spirit of Greensboro’s arts community. When the film premiers this October, expect the campy, dreamlike music to tap a vault of memories. Carolina Theatre President Keith Holliday recalls boyhood Saturday mornings at Circle K Club, and the old ticket booth, where pocket change could sling him straight into the Wild West, and saddle him alongside singing cowboy Roy Rogers. Local photographer Lynn Donovan remembers tap-dancing on stage with Broadway star Gregory Hines. In the film itself, Larry Queen describes the Carolina as he saw it when he was a little boy: “It was like going to a cathedral!” he says, echoing his excitement with an appropriately zippy hand gesture. “It lifted my spirits . . .” Indeed, generations of local children will tell you that the Carolina was the gem of downtown. But don’t expect Damasceno’s film to skim over the theater’s less-thanglamorous moments. It looks them square in the face. And through the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

voices of Greensboro, the days of segregated seating, when customers of color had to come in through a side entrance and sit in the third-floor balcony, are brought to light. A clip from the film focuses on two empty wooden theater seats, side-byside, front stage. Look closely at their weathered state. Closer still and you’ll realize they may have been ripped from what used to be the segregated balcony. In the background, two elderly figures are being ushered down the aisle. An African-American couple, Fred and Hyla Cundiff, come into focus as they take their seats. “We have a tendency to forget things sometimes, and I have to have it recalled to me,” says Fred. “But once I do, I remember precisely what it was like . . .” He goes on to describe in detail the way things were until 1963. The film celebrates change — and an entity that has evolved with the times. If you’ve never been to the Carolina, which looks like a Greek temple with iconic columns supporting a handsome and ornate pediment, then you probably didn’t grow up here. You absolutely cannot miss it. Built in 1927 as a vaudeville theater — although it soon became a first-run movie palace, and later a performing arts center run by the United Arts Council — the building was designed to transport theatergoers from their ordinary lives to a lavish dreamland where the fantasy onstage could take them anywhere. It was one of the first commercial buildings in the state to have air conditioning, and in 1928, became the first theater in the state to install high-tech October 2012

O.Henry 27

Gate City Icons Vitaphone speakers. Hands down, the Carolina was considered to be the finest theater between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. Today, it’s a venue for classic films, dance recitals, community theater, regional concerts, and private events such as weddings and receptions. Although it lacks the sci-fi, futuristic props often associated with time travel, this Gate City icon, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is arguably Greensboro’s most venerated time machine. And not just because of the throwback films that are frequently shown there. Rewind the years. The scene: Halloween night, 1927, five minutes past the grand opening of the Carolina Theatre — then called “The Showplace of the Carolinas.” Inside the 2,200-seat auditorium, a crystal chandelier, large enough for eight men to stand inside of it, dangles just inches above the empty mezzanine. Since its parts were delivered, electricians have worked around the clock to install the grand fixture, tackling about a mile of wire and over 500 light bulbs in a mere 72 hours. By some miracle, it is being hand-cranked into position at the center of the high, domed ceiling — not right on time, but close enough. When the auditorium doors swing open, jaws drop. As intended, the chandelier, the absolute crowning glory of opulence, has transformed the theater into a shimmering palace where the audience feels like royalty. Enter the Italian Renaissance-style interior nearly 85 years later and experience the same grand splendor. The curtains have been replaced. The seats, wider and more comfortable than the originals, accommodate half as many people. But the gilded proscenium is original, as are the ornamental marble columns, the chandelier, and the statuary niches, in which voluptuous replicas of Venus de Milo and Wounded Amazon don’t look a day older. Keith Holliday flashes back to September 1964, seventh grade. He’d brought a date — or at least he’d hoped to call her a date by the end of the evening — along to watch A Hard Day’s Night with a group of his buddies. “I finally got my arm around her shoulder, but I just couldn’t get myself to reach over and make the move,” says Holliday. “Darned if the movie didn’t end, the credits started, and the lights came halfway up . . .” No time now for discretion. “I dove in,” he says, for his very first kiss.

28 O.Henry

October 2012

A good start. The romance lasted six months, which is aeons when you’re a teenager. Urban sprawl began to erode ticket sales in 1970, and the second and third run B-grade films simply weren’t cutting it. In 1976, the Carolina faced the impending threat of demolition — assuming it wasn’t made into an adult theater first — and escaped near-death again in 1981, after being set on fire. With every setback, the community went to bat for their Grand Dame, carried her through her darkest hours, and has given her new life. Those familiar with the proposed 2,800-seat downtown performing arts center are well aware of Holliday’s vision: Build it beside the Carolina on the city-owned lot. He’s crunched the numbers and drawn up the maps. “You build a big Taj Mahal six blocks down the street, a third of it with private money, and you forget about this place,” says Holliday of the nonprofit. “Why not create a theater district right here?” Holliday’s vision includes an experimental 225-seat black box theater on the Carolina’s third floor. If the performing arts center is built on city-owned land, it could save money, he says, and allow for a substantial renovation. He closes his eyes and can see it. Carolina 85 will premier at the Carolina Theatre on October 29 at 7 p.m. For tickets, call (336) 333-2605 or visit www.carolinatheatre.com. OH Ashley Wahl is the associate editor of O.Henry.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro




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Whiskey in the Wind Our most American spirit

By FraNK DaNielS iii


ne of the best things about cocktails is that they are surrounded by lore, not history. So, as we have been recently teased by cooler evenings, and can see hunting season on the horizon, our attention swivels from cocktails that cool us down to those that warm our souls. Yes, it is time for a little whiskey. As we head into fall, the Manhattan cocktail stands as a perfect way to begin an evening, or to end a long working day. Classic cocktails should have a good backstory, and the Manhattan lives up to its billing. Lore has it that the Manhattan was created in 1874 for Winston Churchill’s mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, at the Manhattan Club in New York City, where she was attending a dinner for New York Gov. Samuel J. Tilden. Like many 19th century American cocktails, the original used rye whiskey, and a good rye Manhattan is wonderful; but most prefer the sweeter note of Kentucky Straight Bourbon, or Tennessee Whiskey. With the excellent choices available you can experiment; and don’t be put off by a purist declaring that you can’t use a fine whiskey in a cocktail. Spoil yourself; you’ve either earned a little spoiling, or need some. The proper Manhattan has a wonderful translucence that evokes thoughts of foliage and football, of cooling evenings and quiet conversation in front of the fire with good friends. Great ingredients make great cocktails, and a little upgrade in ingredients makes this version of a Manhattan the perfect autumn accessory. Splurge on one of the sweet (Italian) vermouths that have made their way into our market and your Manhattan will shine. Three of the more interesting sweet vermouths to try are Dolin, Punt e Mes, and the fabulous, and expensive, Carpano Antica. The fruit in each of these, though different, is worth the extra expense.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

To achieve this translucence, never shake a Manhattan. Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass or pitcher with ice and stir gently until the glass is cold to the touch; stir too vigorously and the vermouth will become cloudy. And for those of us who just don’t want to let go of summertime, I asked Greg Davis, master distiller for Maker’s Mark, for his go-to summer whiskey drink. His Summer Breeze will blow some sunshine into a fall afternoon.


2 �1/2 oz. Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Maker 46) 3/4� oz. Sweet (Italian) vermouth (Carpano Antica) Dash Angostura bitters Maraschino cherry Pour the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir gently until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with cherry.

Greg’s Summer Breeze

1 �1/2 oz. Makers Mark (more for a stronger breeze) Splash orange liqueur Top with Ginger ale Orange slice In a rocks glass three-fourths filled with ice, pour the whiskey and orange liqueur. Fill the glass with ginger ale. Garnish with an orange slice. PS Frank Daniels is an editor and writer living in Nashville, Tennessee, and the author of Frank’s Little Black Bar Book. Contact him at fdanielsiii@mac.com.

October 2012

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How to Drink Beer Our man at the Brews Festival takes a nose dive

Beer enthusiasts (clockwise) Lee Hill, Karrie Morgan, Steve Nance, Silas Swaim and Jim McNulty kickoff their own home brew tasting inside Karrie Morgan’s husband’s shop, Big Dan’s Brew Shed By David C. Bailey

Photograph By Cassie Butler


teven Lyerly, master brewer at Olde Hickory Brewing, holds his glass of cucumber wheat up to the light and gives it a deft swirl. “This beer has great eye appeal,” he says over the buzz of the first few minutes of Rock 92’s Summertime Brews Festival, held every July at The Greensboro Coliseum. The trim and youthful Lyerly, one of North Carolina’s most inventive brew masters, is giving The Hophead a crash course on the fine art of tasting beer. Sure, I’ve had hours and hours of practice learning how to bend my elbow at just the right angle so that the beer doesn’t miss my mouth. And my wife says I’ve got the swallowing part down pat. But with more than 350 varieties of craft beers available here at the festival, I figured I could use a little help separating the best from all the rest. Why not take advantage of some of North Carolina’s sharpest palates, I decided, to learn how to better appreciate the subtle character of the world’s third most popular beverage behind water and tea, neither of which have ever particularly appealed to me. The festival is just getting under way, and the VIPs, who have paid $10 extra to sample beer for a couple of hours before the great unwashed arrive, are getting some face time with brew masters like Lyerly. The crowd is civil, even sophisticated. The lines at the most popular booths — Mother Earth out of Kinston; NoDa Brewing out of Charlotte (The Beer on Everyone’s Lips); or Dogfish Head from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware — are orderly and cordial. Even the T-shirts are classy: “The Doctor For What Ales You,” one reads. A perfect setting for Lyerly’s treatise on deconstructing beer. A beer’s head, he points out, is important: “Each bubble, as small as it may be, has a surface area, and when you compound the layers of bubbles, you’re magnifying the surface of the beer — and therefore the amount of aroma you’re getting.” Lyerly thrusts his nose deep into his glass and makes a sound not a little like a bloodhound trying to pick up a scent. “Take short sniffs,” he says. “You don’t want to overwhelm your olfactory receptors.” I imitate Lyerly and, on the fourth inhalation, I do a nasal spew, but, hey, I’m an apprentice. “I like this beer,” Lyerly The Art & Soul of Greensboro

says. He praises its long finish, the way the wheat coats the palate, its moderate cucumber notes, with just a hint of bitterness. He gives it an “A.” Not bad for home brew. In fact, it was Karrie Morgan’s first batch of beer, though she admits she got help from members of the Battleground Brewers’ Guild and her husband, Dan Morgan, who runs Big Dan’s Brew Shed. Lyerly recommends that I ask Todd Isbell, brew master at Liberty Steakhouse & Brewery in High Point, to give me some pointers. By the time we find Isbell, the fest is really starting to crank up. I overhear connoisseurs debating the not-sosubtle differences between Foothills’ Hoppyum IPA and its Seeing Double IPA. T-shirt of the hour? “I’m Not an Alcoholic/ I’m a Soberphobic.” Isbell opts to try a dry stout, brewed by Jim McNulty, one of the twenty kegs the Battleground Brewer’s Guild brought to the brews festival, co-sponsored by Bestway Grocery, aka The Wall of Beer. Isbell suggests we wash our glasses — and palates — with lots of water before starting. “Also, if you’re doing a flight of beers of different styles, you obviously want to start out with the lighter, dryer beers and work your way up into the more full-flavored, fuller-bodied, hoppier and darker beers.” Isbell advocates aggressive sniffing. “Try several short sniffs so the aroma gets into the nooks and crannies of your nasal passages,” he says. Then he says to take a long, but normal swallow. Next, “breathe in as you swallow and then breathe out through your nose, so you get a sort of reverse breath that’s typically done with any sort of tasting.” Spew No. 2 for The Hophead. Your palate, Isbell says, can detect only five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and the elusive umami, while your nose can detect thousands. In some ways, smelling beer is more important than drinking it, though not nearly as rewarding. Sniffing the dry stout, Isbell detects “chocolate notes, oodles of coffee.” Taking a swallow, he picks up a nutty character. “It’s a good beer,” he says. With a dry stout, “You don’t want a lot of complex flavors and you don’t want it extremely hoppy. Hops don’t grow in Ireland. They do in South England, but being good Irishmen, they’d be damned if they’re going to use things that are imported.” Isbell’s only complaint? “Low carbonation.” By the time we’re clinking our glasses over McNulty’s well-brewed dry stout — having tried a few others that weren’t quite as good — the gates have opened. October 2012

O.Henry 33

Get Your Tickets Now for the 2012

C E L E B R AT I O N LU NCH EON Monday, November 5 Joseph S. Koury Convention Center Honoring the News & Record Woman of the Year finalists and announcement of the winner

Special Guest: Erin Brockovich

the subject of a movie starring Julia Roberts that turned an unknown legal researcher into a 20th century icon by showcasing how her dogged persistence helped result in the largest medical settlement lawsuit in history.

She is a rebel. She is a fighter. She is a mother. She is you and me. Presenting sponsor:

More information and tickets:


Women to Women, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, is a permanent endowment that makes high-impact grants to address the issues of women and families in our area.

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October 2012

Hophead It’s a lot like Pamplona and the running of the bulls, only every bull seems headed in a different direction to find his favorite brew. One actually sports horns — one of those Viking helmets with a horn on each side. Another hat is equipped with an impressive array of plastic tubing waiting to be dipped into beer samples. There’s nothing subtle (or modest) about the T-shirts: “I Don’t Get Drunk/ I Get Awesome.” “The Liver Is Evil and Must Be Punished.” Or my favorite, “Big Liver/ Small Bladder.” Amid the chaos of the growing crowd, I’m introduced to Rick Cockcroft, a South African who’s a five-year veteran of judging beer competitions in the Triad. Cockcroft says a good starting point is to reflect on the beer style of the sample as a point of reference. As he’s explaining this, there’s an eruption from the High Point Observers of Hops Science booth: “Fire in the Hole!” a number of people shout in unison. “Let’s try some,” Cockcroft suggests, referring to a golden ale infused with peppers and brewed by Tim McDonald. “I just want some beer and don’t care what it is,” slurs the guy in line behind me. His eyes, though, light up as Fire hits the Hole. “Whoa!” he says. “Now that’s beer.” Cockcroft makes the point that a flavored golden ale like this one has to meet golden ales standards before it’s judged on anything else. After assessing the appearance and aroma, he suggests taking the first swallow as if you were having the first beer of the day. Your first impression, he thinks, is all-important. “This is a fabulous pepper beer, and it’s appropriate as a golden ale,” he says. “It’s something I’d order in a pub. This gets an A.” The Hophead is finally getting good at sniffing and swallowing without incident. Cockcroft affirms the wisdom of Lyerly and Isbell: The quality of homebrewed beers from the Triad at the amateur booths is beyond good. Granted, not all of them are transcendent, but home brewers tend to be ahead of the curve on innovation. Among the beers the Battleground crew offered were Chris Miller’s blackberry witbier, Chris and Beth Bristol’s cinnamon-vanilla porter, Jon Guza’s watermelon lager, and Derick Shular’s jalapeño-tequila golden ale. The High Point Observers of Hops Science had on tap pineappleand-jalapeño wheat beer, peanut-butter-cup stout, carrot wheat, Almond Joy porter and even peanut-butter-and-jelly golden ale. Year after year, Lyerly and Isbell say, home brewers have become more and more innovative and the beers get better and better. At some point, The Hophead must admit, the witbier, the watermelon, the peach wheat and the cucumber wheat begin to blur. Earlier, Isbell had said veteran beer tasters take only the smallest samples and pour out the beers they don’t like: “It doesn’t matter what you’re drinking,” he had said earlier. “You peak and your palate will be so shot.” I had the feeling my peak had passed, my palate was shot, and there was a distinct possibility that I had been over-served. It’s clear that others are in similar shape. Monty Python’s Ministry of Funny Walks could have been filmed here. Interestingly, the band sounds a whole lot better than it had an hour ago. Some attendees stand transfixed in front of the Stone Henge-sized speakers as if worshipping them. Conga lines start up and quickly dissolve. “Bring on the Havoc,” says one T-shirt, which pretty well describes the scene around the Porta-Lets. Some people decide the best place to sit and sample beer is the floor. “You’re not the boss of me,” says one guy to his girlfriend. And yet the mood remains cordial throughout as different folks are bonding over their favorite brews; a guy with square glasses, long sideburns and canvas loafers talks animatedly about kolsch or doppelboch with a totally tattooed dude in motorcycle boots. The scene all over the coliseum is one of jubilation rather than rowdiness. In the end “Peace, Love & Beer” just might be the most appropriate T-shirt at the entire event. Everyone, by now, has become a VIP. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October 2012

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Custom designed by Alishan

49 Miller Street next to Whole Foods Winston-Salem 723.4022 Monday-Friday 10-6 Saturday 10-5


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When Fast Food Was Cool

Serial Eater

At venerable Beef Burger, the last of its breed, doing unto others means one tasty and inexpensive meal — and being treated like family. No wonder ‘God loves Beef Burger’

By David C. Bailey

Photographs By sam Froelich


osted by the door of the Beef (aka Biff) Burger on West Lee Street is a boldly printed, black-and-white sign: “We’re in a poor neighborhood, with a rich outlook. And we have a darn good burger.” Lest you think Biff corporate paid some Madison Avenue ad agency to develop that slogan, owner Ralph Havis is quick to point out, “I came up with that. I’m for the poor people, the working man. It really goes back to years ago when people were struggling through here.” They still are — which is why this 51-year-old icon to tasty burgers served swiftly with a smile is just as crowded today as it ever was. “When the harder times hit out there, the better it gets for us,” Havis says. The prices, to be sure, are great — 99 cents a burger. The service is first-name friendly. The 1950s architecture is retro cool. But it’s the burger that keeps people coming back. Round and round the patented Roto-Red-Broiler goes, cooking 18 hamburgers a minute on a sort of meat merry-go-round. Sizzling beneath the 700-degree glow of quartz crystals, the beef sheds fat and juices, which hit a second, ceramic heating element, producing the distinctive char-broiled flavor. Seeded buns beneath the burgers soak up any juices that haven’t vaporized. Then it’s time for the burgers to take a quick dip in the “secret” sauce, which was given to Havis by Earl P. Brame, one of the chain’s founders and the inventor of the patented roto broiler. Sweet, sour, meaty, toasty, warm and smoky combine into a three- or fourbite nosh that begs you to have another and another. A UNCG dorm once ordered a thousand. Back in 1961 Pete Dunford came down from Virginia to open the restaurant and, eight months later, hired Havis, 18, fresh out of high school. It’s hard to imagine a time when fast-food outlets were cutting-edge, even glamorous, but for a farm boy from Winter Haven, Florida, the eye-catching angles of Biff (Best in Fast Food) Burger’s modern architecture, the sparkle of the spanking-clean, stainless-steel equipment and the assembly-line efficiency of the kitchen were nothing short of awe-inspiring. “I felt like I was in Hollywood, I guess,” he recalls. “And people up here were nice and friendly and would talk to you.” And The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the $1-an-hour he was paid seemed pretty good to Havis at the time (the equivalent of ten Biff Burgers if they were on sale for a nickel off). But what really changed the course of Havis’ life was Dunford’s taking the teenager under his wing and mentoring him. Within a month, Dunford had made him manager. One by one, Dunford passed on the tricks of the trade to his new manager, showing him how to deal with suppliers and employees. Above all else, he urged Havis to run the restaurant doing unto others as you would have them do unto you — treating employees fairly and serving customers as if they were your guests. “He was a good, Christian man,” Havis recalls. But the best part about his new job at Biff Burger was meeting Alma: “I was 19, and she was coming through the line and she was about the prettiest girl I’ve ever seen. It just blinded me. I couldn’t even see nobody else,” he recalls. “I called her up and I told her I was that tall, ugly boy at Biff Burger. I kept on aggravating her and aggravating her until she finally said, ‘Well, you’ve got to come by and meet my mother and father.’” Momma and Daddy approved and in August, Ralph and Alma celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Unlike Burger King or Hardee’s, “We’ve always tried to be like a family restaurant,” Havis says. It helped that Beef Burger got out from under the Biff Burger October 2012

O.Henry 37

Serial Eater

umbrella fairly early. At its height, the Clearwater, Florida-based National Biff-Burger System stretched from Toronto to Florida, with hundreds of outlets. The rise and fall of the chain is lovingly recounted at www.biff-burger.com by self-described food fanatic Christopher Catherman, a Pennyslvania speleologist and amateur historian specializing in, yes, Biff Burger. “Today, only two known locations of the former Biff-Burger chain still exist,” Catherman says. One, of course, is the Greensboro location, which Catherman highlights on his website, giving the complete menu and celebrating the outlet’s 50th

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October 2012


Ralph Havis with two employees anniversary. He also features other Biff-Burgers, almost all of which have closed. “The St. Petersburg location is the only Biff-Burger location still left in existence which uses the Biff-Burger name and is of the original ‘Port-A-Unit’ building construction with upswept canopy roofs. This location also has many elements of the ‘classic’ Biff-Burger architecture and features, with an existing original road sign (just slightly modified), a lighted ‘star’ ball!” Catherman recounts how the parent company was acquired, then sold and struggled under the management of a conglomerate, Mary Carter Paint, which later became part of Resorts International. “International Resorts got a’holt of it,” Havis says, and things were never the same. “They pulled things out of the main corporation, opening gambling casinos, and they’re the ones who shut it all down.” Havis’ assessment, though compressed and simplified, pretty much reflects what happened. The chain went into what Catherman calls “a spiraling collapse.” In 1981, after the parent company mailed his franchise fee back to him, Havis decided to change the name to Beef Burger: “We were concerned that someone would come back in later years and sue us and ask for franchise fees for using the name without permission.” Being out from under the franchise meant that Havis could do things the way Dunford had always envisioned. And Beef Burger became a family-run operation. Alma worked the day shift and kept the books. Havis worked at nights and managed personnel and buying. As an infant, their daughter, Tammie, lay on a blanket in the back of the restaurant and then, as a toddler, came up front to The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Serial Eater

greet customers. As a teen and later as a student at UNCG, Tammie would help out at the counter. A victim of lupus, she died in 1997 at 33, and a memorial to her is prominently displayed in the restaurant. Among her legacies, Havis says, are the battered and fried vegetables that have become a trademark of the restaurant’s eclectic menu — breaded squash and okra, broccoli’n’cheese nuggets, zucchini sticks, corn nuggets and cheese and onion straws. “She was the one who encouraged me to put in all the veggies,” Havis recalls. “I said, ‘I don’t know if people are going to like all that stuff.’ But she said, ‘Oh no, they’ll like it. People are getting real health-conscious.’ . . . I never dreamed they’d go for that stuff.” Jettisoning the limited-menu concept, Havis now offers 100 items, from its ever popular fried bologna supreme sandwich to the chicken-liver box dinner. Havis heaps praise on his cook, Wesley Montgomery, who came as a shy teenager 18 years ago. Just as Dunford mentored him, Havis has helped Montgomery learn the ropes. “He does the job the best it can be done,” says Havis. Montgomery participates in one of the shortest Q&A’s I’ve ever conducted. Asked why he thinks Beef Burger has survived when so many other Biff-Burgers went under, he replies, “Service” before fading behind the milk-shake machine in a fit of shyness. “I’m able to call people by their names and that makes a big difference to them,” Havis says. “Everybody likes to be recognized like that.” Beef Burger’s seat-of-the-pants marketing is both endearing and downright disarming. “Cheerwine slush, M-mm-mmm Good!” proclaims a hand-lettered sign. “We use only Government-inspected 100% pure ground beef,” says a sign by the pickup window. “If you are drunk, eat somewhere else,” says another by the door. Behind the counter, the signage continues: “Stop arguing out front/Thou shalt not steal/ No cussing/No cell phones/Do not smoke pot or crack or drink alcohol/AND COME TO WORK!” Getting good help is Havis’ biggest challenge. It’s tough finding people who smile and are courteous and also work hard. Havis admits it was a difficult thing for him to learn when he first signed on. “It was hard, meeting people, talking to people. Some of them would be hollering at you but you still had to be polite even if they were going to kill you or if you wanted to kill them.” Of course, it doesn’t hurt, as another sign points out, that “God Loves Beef Burger.” Havis couldn’t be more serious, and from a unique marketing perspective, it’s certainly not a claim that Steak and Shake or McDonald’s is likely to make anytime soon. “We feel like we’re blessed because we’re still here,” Havis says. “God does love Beef Burger or he would have taken it away from us.” OH

SPECIALIZING IN HANDLING U.S. GOLD & SILVER COINS AND CURRENCY Quite often families simply want an idea of what their heirlooms are worth. Our most important priority is to discretely and professionally help families such as yours.

Services Offered

Free Consultations • Appraisals • Auctioneer Agent & Broker Private Sales (certified funds available) • Safety Deposit Box Appraisal We maximize your profits from the coins you purchased yourself or may have recently inherited. We work to inform you of the true market value through honest, no obligation free consultations.

Our relationship is confidential. Please call for an appointment (336) 207-9005.

Sparrow’s Rare Finds, LLC

Where History and Commerce Meet

PO Box 4721 • Greensboro, NC 27404 336.207.9005 • cwsg28@gmail.com Caroline Sparrow Gregorio

N.C. Auctioneer Licensing Board, License #9078

David Bailey is a regular contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

OHenryOctober_LyleLovett.indd 1

10:41:44 AM39 October 2012 9/18/2012 O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level

The Wild Night

The Greensboro Youth Council, 50 years old this year, owes its existence to an infamous night of teenage partying

Main entrance on North Elm Street, 1978 By Jim SCHloSSer

PhotograPher William heroy


t was a sight with which O.Henry could identify. People out drinking. In this instance, young people. O.Henry may have well done some underage drinking himself as a boy growing up as William Sydney Porter in Greensboro from the early 1860s to 1879. Regrettably, O.Henry had a weakness for booze. Overdrinking would be a factor in his death at 47 in 1910. Shock, then, wouldn’t have been his reaction had he been walking up North Elm Street and reached the hotel named for him. Eight students, four of them from Greensboro Senior High (now Grimsley), stood on the sidewalk in front of the hotel with liquor and beer bottles in hand. One 17-year-old student had a 15-year-old date, who wasn’t drinking at the time but admitted she had been handed drinks earlier at a party in the hotel, which was just breaking up. What with the famous writer’s drinking problem, it’s ironic that misuse of alcohol turned out to be one of the most infamous moments in the history of the largest memorial to him, the old O.Henry Hotel that stood at North Elm and Bellemeade streets from 1918 to 1975. The occasion was a wild high school party that lasted until the wee hours of March 11, 1962. More than 200 young people were attending a dance, and many of them were drinking. The eight young people who spilled out onto the sidewalk encountered Greensboro police officers, who promptly arrested them. Some of the youngsters were from the city’s best neighborhoods. The incident made a splash in the newspapers. And it caused some unprecedented tut-tutting among adults in Greensboro. The following Sunday, a preacher at West Market Street United Methodist Church devoted a sermon to the drunken youth and the O.Henry soiree. He denounced parents and others in the adult community for their indifference to the goings-on of the young. The newspaper editorial pages opined with words of despair. The preacher, the press and the public wanted to know what had happened to Greensboro’s youth. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When it was revealed the party was sponsored by a girls’ social club at Senior High, the city learned that the school had what amounted to a Greek system — sororities for girls, fraternities for boys. Their names included “The LaSoeurs”, the “GWIs”, the “LSPs”, the “Syitt” and “G-30s.” Each year, the clubs had a “rush week.” Designated students from Senior and a few from still new Page High School were sought after to join the clubs. Because membership was limited to about 15 percent of the student body, rush week inevitably brought heartache to those who were left out. It meant you weren’t in the “in” crowd. The O.Henry party wasn’t an anomaly. The clubs frequently partied, with alcohol always a guest. Responding to the O.Henry party, Mayor David Schenck appointed a 19-member citizens committee to study the city’s youth culture and to suggest some more wholesome activities. After six months of deliberation, the committee reported that drinking and sex were widespread, especially in the social clubs. Among the recommendations was that Senior High’s club system be abolished — and it was. The report called for the establishment of a Greensboro Youth Council to promote some alternative youth events. The Youth Council in September of this year celebrated its 50th anniversary. Of course, this year also marked the golden anniversary of the party that birthed the Youth Council. The Youth Council of today sponsors numerous events, including a Youth Carnival on the grounds of the Greensboro Coliseum that attracts thousands every year. Even that wholesome event has had its dark moments, though. This year a youth was shot in the parking lot outside the carnival. But overall the Youth Council, run by a board of directors of young people from Greensboro, High Point and rural Guilford County, has been a positive influence. It has a long list of corporate sponsors. One can’t help but wonder about the party’s effect on the already struggling O.Henry Hotel. Since opening in 1918, it and the nearby King Cotton, which dated to 1927, had been the city’s two luxury hotels. But a decline began about the time of the party, or maybe just before with October 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level the coming of the interstate highways in 1956 through south Greensboro. Motels opened along the new superhighways. Motorists no longer needed to detour into downtown for lodging. By the end of the 1960s, both hotels were fading relics of their former glory. Strategically placed dynamite imploded the King Cotton in the early 1970s. The O.Henry lingered for a while until a fire caused damage. It then shut down. A man who ran a café near the hotel predicted, “There’ll be parking cars there soon.” Sure enough, the building was demolished and the city later erected its largest public parking deck at the site. A small plaza across the street was dedicated to the vanished hotel’s namesake. Years later, a new O.Henry Hotel, with architectural touches echoing the old one, arose across from Friendly Shopping Center. It enjoys the same reputation for luxury and opulent dining as the old O.Henry did during its prime.

SPECIALIZING IN HANDLING U.S. GOLD & SILVER COINS AND CURRENCY Quite often families simply want an idea of what their heirlooms are worth. Our most important priority is to discretely and professionally help families such as yours.

Services Offered

Free Consultations • Appraisals • Auctioneer Agent & Broker Private Sales (certified funds available) • Safety Deposit Box Appraisal We maximize your profits from the coins you purchased yourself or may have recently inherited. We work to inform you of the true market value through honest, no obligation free consultations.

Our relationship is confidential. Please call for an appointment (336) 207-9005.

Sparrow’s Rare Finds, LLC

Where History and Commerce Meet

PO Box 4721 • Greensboro, NC 27404 336.207.9005 • cwsg28@gmail.com Caroline Sparrow Gregorio

N.C. Auctioneer Licensing Board, License #9078


First floor, main lobby, 1978 The O.Henry Hotel party sobered up the Gate City, although it shouldn’t have surprised anyone then — or now — that teenagers drink. But back then it was easier to get beer. Eighteen was the legal age, and most high school seniors had reached that milestone. They easily purchased it for younger friends. Liquor, which one had to be 21 to buy, seemed plentiful, too. Alumni of the social clubs likely purchased it. Had O.Henry been present to witness the young people being hauled away to the city jail, his response could be easily predicted. He had a generous nature and was known to be an easy touch for anyone in need. And he had once been in trouble himself with the law in Texas. He surely would have offered to post bail. OH Jim Schlosser is a regular contributing editor of O.Henry magazine.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Hitting Home

Good Clean Entertainment

By Dale Nixon


ow, don’t get me wrong when you read this article. I’m not a prude. I enjoy some forms of adult entertainment, know when to laugh at the punch line to a risqué joke and have read the Fifty Shades trilogy by E. L. James. But enough is enough. I WANT SOME DECENT, GOOD, CLEAN, FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT. Recently, I suffered from a virus and took to my bed for a couple of days. I channel-surfed for hours on end and other than a few of some older re-runs, I couldn’t find anything to watch. A lot of the material that television moguls are pumping out and shoving down our throats is garbage. They should have their minds washed out with soap. They maintain they’re giving the majority of the people what they want. How dare them blame poor taste on me. I find it hard to imagine that the majority of the people actually enjoy hearing foul language, watching a hatchet murder, viewing a rape scene or listening to a dialogue written by someone who enjoys all of the above. To make matters worse, our children are witnesses to this trash. Young minds are sharp and they’re quickly learning the baser side of life. When I was young, my parents had the privilege of telling me about the “birds and the bees.” That privilege is now in the hands of production companies and their reality shows. And if I had used one word of the deplorable language I am hearing on these shows, I wouldn’t be here to write this column today. Someone should sit down with the television executives and point

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

out the fact that The Cosby Show was No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings for years and that the beloved Andy Griffith Show is still playing reruns after more than forty years. These shows were popular because they offered DECENT, GOOD, CLEAN, FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and Laura and Rob Petrie each slept in twin beds. I agree that times have changed since then and that after a certain age, Bambi loses its appeal. But something’s wrong with an entertainment industry that prides itself on the Mafia Wives, Jersey Shore (do you want Snooki teaching your child the facts of life?) and yes, even The Bachelor (how many girls can one man cavort with in a hot tub?) Is the Real World really the real world? Coco Chanel would turn over in her grave if she watched our current television shows. The fashions are as vulgar as the programming. I really don’t think any of the young girls on television wear underwear. How can they wear their clothes hanging off their shoulders, slit up to their waist, down to their thighs, or boast their backless dresses and wear any underwear? There’s not a lot of front to the front of their blouses or dresses either. The young men wear jeans that are so loose, I don’t know how they can walk, or so tight, I don’t know how they can walk. Very little is left to the imagination. Very little is left out of sight. Television moguls, there are those of us around who still enjoy DECENT, GOOD, CLEAN, FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT. Give it a try. The ratings may surprise you. Shall I pass the soap? PS Columnist Dale Nixon may be contacted at dalenixon@carolina.rr.com.

October 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Arctic Interlude

The Sporting Life

Deep in the northern wilds, a man and his dog find beauty and challenge

By Tom Bryant


t was a mistake. He knew it the minute he had committed himself. Too late to turn back. A stupid mistake that could mean real trouble. One that he knew better than taking and one that he should not have made. This one could cost him his life. The squall had come quickly, faster than any he had been in before. It roared out of the south catching him about mid-lake, he figured. He had just enough time to climb into the middle of the canoe and hunker down, knees to the floor, spreading his weight as low in the boat as possible. The only good thing was that he was lightly loaded and the wind was quartering from the south in such a way that enabled him to surf the waves. He hoped that the wind would hustle him closer to the shoreline where he would have a little more control. The lake was four or five miles across, and the way back along the shore to the camp was probably three times that, thus the decision to take a chance; and unlike others he had taken in the past, this one had pretty big stakes. The water was cold and grey and blowing whitecaps, colder than any lake water he had ever seen. What the hell, he thought. You are above the Arctic Circle. What did you expect, palm trees? I should have stayed along the shore. Tired, I guess, and in a hurry to get back to base camp and some real chow. His neck was hurting from constant turning to watch for rogue waves that could swamp the canoe. His paddle was in the water continuously, bracing, or prying, to be ready for the next black swell that could take them under. His yellow dog was as low in the boat as he was, recognizing in her own instinctive way the trouble they were in. “Hold on there, Mackie, here comes a big one. Whoa,” he said as he leaned as far out of the canoe as he could for a paddle brace to help the boat stay upright. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Shipped a little water on that go round, old girl.” Over the past few days, he had started talking to his dog a lot more than he had ever done before. “We’ll have to bail in a few minutes if these seas will hold.” Then the rain hit, mixed with snow, colder than the black lake water. “Now this is adding insult to injury,” he said out loud. “Give me a break!” Thankfully, the rain and snow mixture did have a flattening way with the whitecaps and seemed to calm them a little, giving him time to grab his bailing bucket and slosh some water out of the boat. It was a good canoe, an Old Town Tripper, built for lake paddling and big loads. It had a depth of free board that would keep them out of trouble in most normal situations. “Mackie, I think I see trees,” he exclaimed, and sure enough, low growing aspens along the shore came into view and the lake seemed to slow and calm and lay down in that smooth way that had tricked him into taking the short cut. He leaned back on the stern seat exhausted and let the gentle waves push the boat onto the shore. Mackie leaped out of the canoe as if she hadn’t seen land in weeks, although the lake crossing had only taken a couple of hours. He collapsed in the stern breathing hard knowing that he had dodged a real bullet. After a few minutes, he stepped out of the boat on the sandy, rocky beach and stood for a time just looking out over the lake. “Great, good God almighty,” he said aloud to Mackie and the gulls that were circling close to the boat. “That one was close.” He walked up on shore to a higher hummock and sat, then lay back and watched the grey sky. It never changes, he thought. It’s bright or grey or black. Damn, this is a wild, forsaken land. I love it. After a bit, he stood and stretched. It felt good to be on firm ground but he knew that he had to get to base camp before dark. There was a lot to do before Larkin and the plane came to haul them back to civilization. He whistled up his dog and they got back in the canoe, knowing that food was October 2012

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The Sporting Life waiting not that far around a few more watery bends. The lake had settled and was slick and black as skim ice. It was hard to believe how rough it had been just a little while ago. The north sun was going down faster and the days were getting noticeably shorter. I need to check the hours of daylight, he thought, as he pushed the canoe in the cut where he had made base camp. His dog ran up the little hill out of sight toward where he and Larkin had pitched the wall tent. He dragged the boat up on land, looked to the west as the sun settled in a grey-white nothingness and walked slowly over the rise. He couldn’t ever remember being this tired. After feeding his dog, he poured a can of beef stew into a pot and put it on the little Primus cook stove. It’s a good thing Larkin will be here in two days, he thought. Chow is getting low. He went outside the big tent and stomped the stew can flat, put it in his dump sack and hauled it back up the tree. The dump sack was bigger than the duffel where he kept the rest of his food. He spooned the beef onto a tin plate, pulled a couple dried biscuits from his diminishing stash and ate supper. After cleaning the dinner dishes, he went outside and started the fire that he had laid before the long reconnoitering trip around the lake. He pulled his camp chair closer to the heat. The air was colder since the day three weeks ago when Larkin had landed his beaver plane on the unnamed lake. Larkin was real proud of his school bus yellow de Havilland Beaver sixseater floatplane. “If I can load her up and she still floats, she’ll fly,” he said when he was asked about carrying the big green canoe. “We’ll just strap the boat on the landing pontoons and everything will be fine.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mackie inched closer to the fire. “It’s getting colder, old girl. We’re gonna need all the blankets tonight.” He filled his cup with the last of the coffee and thought about his pilot and how excited Larkin was going to be when he told him about what he had found on his trip around the lake. On this adventure, one of many in his life, there was a chance of real rewards if everything worked. It required two things: an honest, trustworthy pilot who knew the northern tundra, and most of all, one who could keep silent about what was possible. Larkin was the pilot he chose. The aurora borealis lighted up the Arctic sky with colors that made him feel infinitely smaller in this great empty land. He went into the tent and filled his Sierra cup with Scotch from an almost empty bottle. He had one bottle left that he was saving to celebrate with Larkin. He poured in a splash of water from the water bucket, got a dog biscuit for Mackie and went back to the fire. He put on a couple more logs and reclined in the camp chair. The sky had cleared and, as the northern lights faded, the great Milky Way stretched across the horizon. “Mackie, we are indeed one lucky pair.” Fifty miles to the south in a deep canyon at the foot of one of the Ogilvie Mountains was a smashed, school bus yellow plane. The pilot was hanging lifeless from the side window. Snow slowly drifted over the mangled hulk. OH Tom Bryant, who graduated from Elon and lived in Alamance County for decades, is a lifelong outdoorsman and O.Henry’s Sporting Life columnist.

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Artist At Work

The Artful Archeologist

Acclaimed Greensboro poet Sarah Lindsay’s verse is a journey into mythic worlds — lost and not yet found n Encounter with the Worlds

By Valerie Nieman

Photograph By Cassie Butler

Consider me Virgil.

Not that, as a poet, I’d have the right to carry the hem of the old Roman’s toga, but I’ve had a passing acquaintance with shadowy lands between Paradise and Dis, hell’s hottest and lowest region. I’ve ridden the backs of winged beasts, seen ancient wonders, shared the consuming passions of scientist and seeker. Take my hand — accompany me into the manifold worlds of Sarah Lindsay. We can enter through the slender bridge of her early chapbooks, printed by Greensboro’s own unique publisher, Unicorn Press, and now a rarity. But greater wonders lie beyond, in the three great territories of her major books of poetry, so we’ll cross quickly to the gates of Primate Behavior. Published in 1997, this volume was a finalist for the National Book Award. It drips with slow honey and quick decay. Here, let us pause by the bestiary, abode of creatures we can name if not comprehend. The Business Salmon in their “necktie stripes” swim against the current until “their good leather shoes are scuffed, their briefcases battered.” In this compound, wooly mammoths graze beside musk oxen. A lungfish hazards dry land. Chang and Eng consider the giraffe: “If everyone looked that strange/ we’d still be selling duck eggs.” Creatures of fantasy inhabit a different ground in Primate Behavior, beyond “the glacier putting its steady white foot forward.” The tents of the eternal Circus Merk shelter another set of Siamese twins. The great Hartunians build a human pyramid in pitch darkness. And Madam Vashti reads the future with a diplomatic gaze: “Not that she sends them to break their necks/stepping into the street to avoid black cats./It knows how to find us, she says. Be strong./Brace yourselves, it’s coming.” Elephants waltz, using the same steps with which they met the armies of Alexander or pulled teak logs from the forest. In this place, heroes and demigods walk beside great seekers. Young Superman sees girls — and, of course, into girls: “a first egg begins its calm descent/before his steely focus came apart.” Zookeepers stash art among the animals, “Mondrian with the zebras,” caught by the desire to save both. Polar explorers still trek here, Robert Falcon Scott, and Amundsen with “the word Forward drawn on his heart.” English naturalist, evolutionist, social critic and theorist Alfred Russel Wallace raves as a theory and malaria vie in his brain.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

In Primate Behavior, creatures struggle toward life, humans toward awareness. Despite a god’s best efforts, people remained “to knit barbs in wire and string it wide,/to write down endless numbers,/to look into fire and sing till their eyes hurt/and still sing, to dam rivers/to slit the belly of a thirteen-year-old girl . . .” And there is of course Love, that thing of honey and honeysuckle, of “the racket and glow in this body” that also encompasses the knowledge of how “in a team of two,/to bring down a marriage heavy with years.” Death, the great counterweight, is here: A moldy orange, turned pale blue, “draws to its dusty cave-in.” The polar bear arrives to devour you. In the skull of a disinterred poet, they find: … the fossil herds of vast misshapen hungers with their stomachs full of ferns, the angular winged things with claw-hammer heads and nails for fingers, the huge two-legged anger’s wide jaws lined with knives, its crooked, feeble arms. Fossil Finds October 2012

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Artist At Work


Orpheus, bereft, joins us for the journey across Lindsay’s next book, Mount Clutter. He knows paths through “the stunted wood/whose leafless trees are bodies of the dead, /through which the frail spirits wander, alert/to any disturbance,” so that “If you don’t cry, you might get/two minutes of your beloved doing nothing/before you start to sweat.” Mount Clutter (2002) is where diggers set their shovels, often inches from revelation or destruction: One day when the planet was idly pressing stegosaurs in her scrapbook, she threw out a whole plateau of souvenirs from the Ordovician, on impulse. She’d long since run out of places to put things — one reason these organelles are crammed into cells — and naturally disorder breeds disorder: you get distracted, you put down that scribbled fossilized note about Martian microbes, and once you set a tectonic plate on top of it, you may never find it again….” Mount Clutter Bone hunters reveal “still-decaying skulls too fragile to touch/whose delicate gray contents go on forgetting,” while others frolic like children, gathering glyptodon bones. We don’t quite know what to make of fragmentary wonders. In “Secrets of the Skogland Shale: The Auditorium Fossil,” scientists analyze

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“alphabetic heaps” of spirals and tubes and resist hasty conclusions: “The facts we have are marvelous enough.” From the top of the mount we can see the Bufo Islands, discovered on the Flinders chart and illuminated in a series of poems. These “six vestigial tailbones/Cracked accidents of dough” are home to processional caterpillars, a four-toed sloth, “the five-eyed, claw-nosed Cambrian opabinia” that neglected to die out. Like the Encantadas, these islands have many names, many discoverers. Things arrive — a Barbie, a seed, a fur snake, a scientist. On the Bufos, we approach comprehensive knowledge by covering half the distance to it, half the remaining distance, half the diminished remnant, half again. The pleasure of leaping subsides into the achievement of even finer filigree along one edge of Darwin. Ameldonia As we descend the mount, we find ourselves in surroundings that the Roman love poet Ovid knew, where change occurs by leaps rather than increments. A yawn in Temujin becomes the plague along the Black Sea, people become trees, the 27th Gilgamesh shows up seeking the cure for cancer. Wonders bedazzle. In “Guide to the Tomb of Ankh-mahor,” we are reminded (again) to use our kerchiefs and avoid stirring dust as we view the mural. “It makes no sense. But then/it was not put here to please us.”


Another guide — a cataloguer of shards, perhaps an explorer — will join us

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Artist At Work for this newest-risen land, Lindsay’s Twigs and Knucklebones, 2008. Death and life draw together here, as in “Valhalla Burn Unit on the Moon Callisto,” where “the patients move with exquisite care,/never too close to each other or to anything,/sipping bottled oxygen,/dressed, where they can be covered, in white . . .” We eat and are eaten, our insides plumbed by parasites. Our greatest achievements are grist: “Welcome to the Museum of Damaged Art, an ever-growing monument to the intersection of circumstance with design,” home to the vandalized, the earthquake-riven, war-raddled, mold-eaten. Death claims the greatest province here, the Kingdom of Nab, a fictional but long-lived realm located near to the Hittites. Scholars scrabble through the ruins “with their pocketknives, pencils, rulers, fingernails,” but the fragments yield only partial stories, provocative images. Life beat once in these dry cities, and again as archaeologists debate at the length of shovel and theory. The flamboyant Baron von Hausknecht, first to dig, cut a ruinous swath: Allsop, seventy-eight years later, faithfully sifts the unspectacular graves of Mishgath-Tera, avoiding the gouge where von Hausknecht did his worst. He will leave two quadrants untouched, even as he resists the temptation of pristine Tell Makaira, just forty miles away. Something must be set aside for the ones whose coming is foretold: twenty-first century scientists with machines, who will scrape a bowl that once held goat-meat stew and work out the proportions of honey and fennel… Destruction

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Unearthed stones breathe out the life they once sheltered. “The king was fond of small brown olives and the fragrance of cassia.” The singer, the weaver, the man who made small clay horses for his child, the mother: Right now the goodness is rising in her again, that feeling of holding a fresh warm egg in her hands, or a warm bowl, or warm husband, faint sweetness under the tongue as after new bread. It isn’t the pinched-clay gods they plant with the barley she wants to thank for this, or the round-bellied stone stitched into her pillow, or the red sun over the rockpile, but she wishes to give thanks — though it is for something she won’t keep, that will leave no trace. Epilogue: Rockpile


So — here I leave you, my friend. We have emerged, half blinded. Perhaps you feel like the Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson, hanging by a rope in an Antarctic crevasse, “turning in a diminishing spiral,/like milk at the mouth of a drain.” Yet he rose up, as you will from these grand and terrible realms, unable to forget where you have been. OH Valerie Nieman teaches writing at North Carolina A&T State University and is poetry editor of Prime Number magazine. She is completing her fourth novel.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane

A Real Knockout

It’s their party. But I’ll cry if I want to

n Encounter with the Worlds

By Jane Borden

Illustration By Meridith Martens


esolved: If an impeccably dressed woman knocks on the door of a midtown Manhattan high-rise apartment, but Aerosmith is playing inside so loudly that no one hears her, it did not make a sound. So I knocked again. No response. I rang the cellphone of the party’s host. It went to voice mail. I put my purse on the floor, along with the chilled bottle of rosé I’d brought, dug the heels of my beige leather boots into the hall’s wallto-wall carpeting, crossed my fingers that no one would round the corner in the next ten seconds and then banged on the door with both fists so powerfully that my entire torso rocked from the momentum. Nothing. It was too ironic: a party so fun that its guests couldn’t get in to enjoy it. It was like if O.Henry had a Super Sweet Sixteen. I started to second-guess myself. Was this even the right party? Did I have the correct address? Had I time-traveled to a period in the future when knocking is no longer recognized as a call for entry? Wait, that last one isn’t possible — there’s no way people in the future still like the song “Love in an Elevator.” Maybe I should just go home, I thought, but, instead, I swallowed my pride and waited because, musical choices notwithstanding, this was going to be a fabulous party. I was on the forty-third floor of a swank Fifth Avenue tower just south of Central Park. How often can one sip a highball while surveying all of midtown through floor-to-ceiling windows? Doing so would help me forget that I’m poor; that I’ve chosen a career which will never land me here; that when I looked through the windows of where I used to live in New York, all I saw was the empty lot across the street where prostitutes brought their Johns. Damn it, I just wanted to pretend — for one night — that I was rich enough to be a John. Also, I’d taken a cab there, so I couldn’t go home until I’d had $18 worth of fun. “Workin’ like a dog fo’ ‘de bossman! / Whoa-oh! / Workin’ fo’ ‘de company! / Whoa-oh ye-ah!” The call-and-response lyrics sounded funny seeping through the foyer of a home so obviously belonging to the bossman. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Ugh!” I said aloud, mostly to the party gods but also to the bottle of rosé, which I decided to name Rosie in honor of Wilson the volleyball from the film Cast Away. I picked her up and said, “Looks like it’s just you and me, pal.” She responded by dripping condensation on my boots. It was time to strategize. As a rousing homage to public, anonymous sex, “Love in an Elevator” contains few quiet lulls. But one part is at least a cappella: “Go-ing Dow-owow-ow-ow-ow-own.” I waited patiently and then, on the lyric’s cue, banged until my knuckles were white. I knocked so loudly that I couldn’t at first detect the sound of everyone else singing along inside. Again, no one had heard my wooden cries. I grew despondent. I imagined all of my friends having fun without me, miming the lyrics, slowly squatting as if in a real elevator, pretending to push buttons to floors I’d never visit. Then I turned bitter. I mean, what if I were Jesus? What if I were Jesus in disguise, and I’d come to test their hospitality the way Zeus did with that elderly couple in Greek mythology? Actually, strike that. What if I were October 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane Steven Tyler? What if he just happened to be in the building and had decided to stop by and find out who was rocking his sounds so deafeningly? Sorry, fictional Steven Tyler, you’ll never know. “Gonna be a penthouse pauper! / Whoah-oh! / Gonna be a millionaire! / Whoa-oh ye-ah!” I checked my watch: Only a few minutes had passed and I was already perspiring. It was just so quiet and clean out there: no cracks in the paint, no Christmas tree needles in the corners, no Latino couples screaming next door. Suddenly I felt like an impostor in my Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress. Although I grew up in a world of blouses, slacks and fine wines, I now spend my life in jeans, sneakers and dive bars. The DVF is part of a small subsection of my wardrobe, which was subsidized almost exclusively by my mother’s generosity, and which is drafted from its dry-cleaning sheathes when I need to appear as if still living in the world of blouses and slacks. I wear them when I hang out with people who carry things like lip gloss in their purses, who carry things like purses. I wondered if I ought to just go home, slip into my Adidas and listen to obscure indie rock. Otherwise, someone might find me the next day, passed out in a hallway, spooning an empty bottle of wine and showing my Spanx. “Seriously, dude, where’s our pizza?” I heard a male voice say from the other side of the door. Hooray! I was saved: The pizza guy was coming! Then I realized that surely Dominos had already been, knocked fruitlessly, and gone. Actually, I’m surprised I hadn’t found a skeleton outside the door wearing a uniform and still gripping the box in its bony hands and . . . The door opened. “Dude, where’s our — oh, hey Jane. What are you — ? Have you been waiting out here?” “No! Heh, heh, I just arrived,” I responded and walked inside while surreptitiously twisting the deadbolt so the door wouldn’t click shut again. “Cool,” he said, and, noticing the song had ended, added, “Be right back.” I walked into the kitchen and allowed myself one small triumphant smile, knowing I’d gotten away with some ruse. And then, while locating the corkscrew (sorry, old chum), I heard the opening bars of “Love in an Elevator” rumble back into my life. “HM, mm, MM, mm, MM, mm. Hm, MM, mm, MM, mm, MM, mm.” I looked down at Rosie and — I swear to Steven Tyler — she winked.


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Riding a Motorcycle

October 2012

on Halloween (How near the dead the children seem) Past skeletons, witches, and ghosts, All children among the night-lit orange Of pumpkins, leaves, my cycle coasts. Shall I frighten the dead back to bed? A roar. One more scorching up the road And done. Dead leaves, the dead, like blood On my hair, a crown my stiff fingers By our porch’s pumpkin-light I shed. I pull blinds, blow out our pumpkin. Our unmasked, exhausted children sleep. Then down the chimney, or my mind, Close-mouthed ghosts float in procession. Around the living room they bend, And near the end I think I see Both our children, my wife and me. A sip of cider clears my head Of all nonsense about the dead. I need not cycle to arouse Or drive back the dead who nurse Me with cider pressed of the fruit From our apple tree’s now bare arm Burning in the fireplace. Up, out The chimney sparks fly like stars. Warn Star fade with sparks. I float to sleep. Is nothing private in our house, Nor in the grave, nor the universe?

— Robert Watson

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October 2012

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The Curious Tale of Mr. Jeff and Miss Betsy

The colorful antics of Chinqua Penn Plantation’s eccentric owners remains the stuff of legend By David C. Bailey

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t was suitably rainy that January 1946 afternoon as mourners looked for parking places in front of Chinqua Penn Plantation’s stately, 27-room, stone-and-oak manor house. At 3 p.m. in the chapel-sized living room, soothed by the strains of a Skinner theater organ’s 1,000-plus pipes, Reverend Duke Jones read poems previously selected by Jeff Penn — “known to virtually every person in Reidsville and Rockingham County, regardless of age, race or station, as ‘Mr. Jeff,’” wrote W.C. “Mutt” Burton in the Greensboro Daily News the next day. “A negro quartet, friends of the deceased, sang soft spirituals, including “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” Afterward, Mr. Jeff’s heart, sealed tightly in a steel box, was entombed within a peaceful garden near the house. Overhead flew a plane with his ashes: “Through the mist over the plantation, the ashes were cast out to settle with the quiet rain upon its fields and gardens,” Burton wrote. “Jeff Penn had come home to stay.” Reidsville’s longtime vet, Dr. Fred Coates, picks up the story: “Well, this old red-boned hound showed up the next day,” Coates recalls in a taped interview. “Mrs. Penn believed in reincarnation, and she said, ‘I believe that’s Jeff. You take him over to Dr. Coates and get him straightened out.’ Well, he had lice all over him. He had fleas. He had worms, and he was poor and starved to death.” Coates, however, says he nursed Big Red, as he came to be called, back to life, and for

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

15 years, “he led the life of Riley.” F. Scott Fitzgerald once famously wrote, “The rich are different from you and me.” Ernest Hemingway countered, “Yes, they have more money.” There’s no doubt that Thomas Jefferson Penn and his second wife, Beatrice “Betsy” Schoellkopf Penn, had a lot more money than you and me. He was one of the heirs to the American Tobacco Co. fortune. She inherited money from her family, which had developed Niagara Falls as a power source. And though it might have been more than money that made them different, the way they lived and enjoyed their money made them seem larger than life to their fellow Reidsvillians. In the 1920s, they bought hundreds of acres of land centered on one of the highest points in Rockingham County and erected a monumental and eccentric Y-shaped mansion. Then they traveled the world, delighting in the acquisition of whatever struck their fancy. As a result they surrounded themselves with an eclectic collection of paintings, sculpture and artifacts from 30 countries, almost all of them museum-worthy. What they didn’t ship back, they built: a three-story windmill where Mr. Jeff could throw raucous parties; a whiskey still to fuel those parties; and shrines and intimate kiosks tucked away in the woods. They also acquired Thoroughbred horses, pedigreed show dogs and a herd of prized Holstein dairy cows. There was even a set of miniature railroad tracks so Mr. Jeff could go from one picnic table to the next, delivering bowls of Brunswick stew Italian Faience Water Jar, 20th century

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Straumburg-Carlson Vintage Telephone from a wheeled stew kettle. In an age before people were told they should feel guilty about being wealthy, Jeff and Betsy perfected the fine art of enjoying their money. Their foibles and their antics, especially Jeff Penn’s, became the stuff of legend around Reidsville, where I grew up. My father, who ran Belk-Stevens downtown, and my uncle Ab Newnam, who was a foreman at American Tobacco Co., would regale us with tales of how the other half lived. For years, I was skeptical; surely they were exaggerating. Then I met Gloria T. Best, of Eden. Starting in 2001, Gloria lovingly recorded the stories of a number of people who knew Chinqua Penn (named for the Chinquapin bush that used to flourish there) or had worked for the Penns. I soon realized that the stories they told echoed what I’d heard from my father and my uncle. Now 47 years since Mrs. Penn’s death, separating truth from fiction is nearly impossible. For the purposes of this story, I’ve chosen to let the stories speak for themselves, to let the voices of the past tell the legend of Chinqua Penn Plantation. Mutt Burton likened Jeff Penn to a statue in Chinqua Penn’s gardens that depicted “a puckish dwarf, an earthy and mischievous gnome.” Jimmy Waynick, formerly the chief electrician at American Tobacco, described Penn as “a clown, a court jester.” Mrs. Penn? “She was a perfect lady.” Nearly 6 feet tall and always well-coiffed and impeccably dressed, she was said to have had a regal bearing. Waynick remembers one incident that perfectly describes how entirely unlike one another the Penns were. Waynick was working for Irving Electric when Jeff Penn came into the office laden with photographs from a world tour. “I want that Waynick boy to take these pictures and paste them together all on one roll,” he said. Penn told Waynick he wanted him to come to a dinner for out-of-town guests and show the pictures on a projector. When Waynick’s father learned his son was dining with the Penns, he took him to Moxie Roman’s clothing store “and bought me a suit in there for

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about $5 because I didn’t have any decent clothes. That suit came over on the ark. It was the funniest looking suit you ever saw.” At the time though, Waynick thought he was dressed to the nines. That evening he showed up at Chinqua Penn with the photos and projector. “Jeff says, ‘Son, go into the kitchen and get you something to eat.’ I turned around and started out, and my feathers just fell . . . I had been hurt deep. Well, about that time everyone was going into the dining room, and Miss Betsy grabbed me and carried me into that big dining room and moved some old dude down at that big table and sat me down right beside her,” he recalls. “Now that’s the description of those two people.” Although Penn tried to fit in by dressing rustically — wearing riding boots, jodhpurs and the type of corduroy jackets favored by tobacco farmers — he didn’t always see eye-to-eye with the working man. Over time, Penn’s dairy began losing money because the milk produced by Holstein cows wasn’t as rich and creamy as the Jersey milk Trent Brothers Dairy sold. So one day he put a notice up: “We’re not making any money in the dairy and I’ve got to cut wages,” Penn told his workers, according to Waynick. “And he said, ‘From now on, I’ll pay 9 cents an hour instead of 10 cents an hour.’ And under that was, ‘Bess and I are going on a world cruise. We’ll we back in six months.’” Waynick remembers Jeff Penn jokingly saying that he never made a dime in his life — “But I married two rich women.” (His first wife was Betsy’s first cousin.) The late Ronald Talley, son of Charles Talley, Chinqua Penn’s gardener from 1929 until 1985, remembers that whenever one of the Penn’s cocker spaniels died, Jeff Penn would “gather up the crews and make them come down and they’d have a funeral service for the dog. And that was mandatory for the help that was on the property.” The dogs, Black Eye, Brown Eye, Red Man, Red Lady, Rusty Rose, Yellow Gal, Red Devil, had their own cemetery. The The Art & Soul of Greensboro

gravemarkers, Robert Ware says, were made by his father, Pat Ware, who helped maintain the plantation. Not that Robert Ware remembers the dogs fondly: “There were dozens of them, and they were spoiled, and they were mean, and they had the run both of the house and the grounds.” He has boyhood memories of shinnying up a tree to get away from them. When asked by Gloria Best which of the Penns’ prized spaniels was his favorite, Ronald Talley admits he didn’t have a favorite. But there’s one he’ll never forget: Horehound, an exceptionally mean dog. “Individually a cocker spaniel is not an aggressive dog but you get them in a pack and they can become aggressive.” He recalls how his brothers and mother were “in one of the gardens chopping weeds one day . . . and this pack of dogs came after us.” His mom took up a hoe to defend her children, and Horehound got the worst of it. Dr. Coates disguised what had happened to Miss Betsy, “so mother wasn’t in as deep as trouble as she could have been.” That Mrs. Penn decided that Big Red was her reincarnated Chinese Cizhou Storage Jar / Lamp, possibly Ming dynasty The Art & Soul of Greensboro

husband is not as far-fetched as it may sound. In some instances, the dog exhibited superior manners. Dr. Coates remembers Penn walking down the streets of Reidsville, “and if he took a notion to urinate, he’d just urinate in the street,” European-style, Dr. Coates recalls. “Or he’d walk up to some lady at the bank and he’d Italian Empire expel some gas and say ‘’scuse me,’ or maybe Cruciform Gilt Wood he’d say, ‘Well, you ought to excuse yourself.’ Bench, circa 1800 He was ornery, crude and rude.” Penn loved his dogs, though, and especially relished watching them breed. He would often invite a group of other men to share his admiration and amusement. One time, he invited Betsy’s bridge group to watch his 2,000-pound prize Holstein bull breed. “The bull was used to this, and he just walks out there and jumps the cow,” Dr. Coates says, “and Jeff says, ‘By God, if that’s all I did to Betsy, she’d leave me.’ He was a dirtymouthed old fellow.” But Miss Betsy always had the upper hand, Waynick says: “She’d say, ‘That’s enough, Jeff,’ and he would be a perfect gentleman.” The only daughter of Arthur Shoellkopf, past mayor of Niagara Falls and chairman of the board of Niagara Falls Power Company, Beatrice went to an exclusive New York girls’ school, followed by two years of travel in Europe. October 2012

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Japanese Covered Wine Pot Her first marriage was to a millionaire in Chicago, where she spent 17 years as a prominent socialite on the city’s north shore. She was 42 when she married the 48-yearold Jeff Penn and chose to move to Chinqua Penn because of the climate and the beauty of the plantation’s setting. Even in the boonies, she managed to maintain the lifestyle to which she had grown accustomed. A system of intercoms and call buttons were used to summon servants. Five greenhouses furnished flowers year-round, fifteen bouquets for the living room alone. She commissioned professor Pompeo Coccia to come over from Italy to paint her powder room and boudoir in the style of Marie Antoinette’s. While Mr. Jeff drove a huge, green Lincoln himself, Miss Betsy always had a chauffeur, Bob Boyles. But he recalls that he never opened the door for Miss Betsy when she didn’t remember to say, “Thank you.” Each week on Wednesday from 10 a.m. until noon, cosmetologist Janie Will Upton Jones of Reidsville would open up her home to Miss Betsy to give her the $10 treatment — a shampoo, a set, a facial, a neck massage and a freshening up of her make-up. Then came a manicure and nail job for her hands, which were “perfect . . . long and tapered . . . like models on television . . . Revlon Cherries in the Snow is what she used all the time,” Janie recalls. For Mrs. Penn, Wednesdays were a relaxing respite. Janie always served Miss Betsy, who was diabetic, a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Once Janie persuaded Miss Betsy to hold her newborn son: “Her eyes just sparkled,” Janie recalls. “She said, ‘He has little teeth.’ She was surprised, two little teeth just peeping though the gum.” (Janie’s son, Bert, became a Rockingham County Commissioner and a representative in the N.C. House.)

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Mrs. Penn opened up her house to local children, inviting them to play with her nieces and nephews visiting from New York. “Despite all her money and social position, she was a down-to-earth person,” Charles Talley once said. “Around Thanksgiving she’d ride over to the plantation and ask all the foremen to make a list of the workers’ children, their ages, and sizes. She’d be going to New York the next week and she’d buy a Christmas present for each.” She also helped fund Annie Penn Memorial Hospital, named after Jeff’s mother, and supported the Girl Scouts. And she loved to entertain, each year hosting the kickoff dinner for the local Community Chest. Jeff Penn also loved a party, but his were a little less refined. He called the first property he bought the Corn Jug Farm for good reason. There was a whiskey still on the property, and it was put to good use. Dr. Coates remembers a pulley system in the house with a bucket on the end of it, just like a well, for getting whiskey from the downstairs to the upstairs. But the beverage that really sticks in his memory is some “chemical wine he bought uptown someplace.” He says Jeff Penn would serve it along with his Brunswick stew. “Well, meat was scarce, so he’d put turnip salad in that stew and say he couldn’t afford meat.” That, while a hundred head of cattle grazed nearby. “Well, he’d give you enough of that wine so you wouldn’t care whether the stew was green or yellow.” The windmill, built by a mason who came over from Holland, was party central. The first floor featured a taproom and a dancing terrace. A jukebox-like turntable could handle 100 records, with the music piped all over the plantation. Upstairs were vivid murals depicting nightlife in Paris’ Montmartre. Waynick remembers “sassy tiles all over the place, imported from Europe, nudes, that kind of thing.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When the windmill burned to the ground in 1941, an electrical fire was blamed. Waynick’s not buying that: “I think that a bunch of drunks burned that thing down.” Despite his bonhomie, Jeff Penn didn’t like being crossed. Waynick remembers how back in the 1930s Joe Womack, Reidsville’s city manager, began to get complaints about wagonloads of human sewage sludge being hauled right down Reidsville’s main commercial drag. That would be Scales Street, parallel to Main Street, which is lined by some of the city’s finest mansions. “Now we’re talking about July and August and that mess was getting on the street and not smelling too well,” Waynick says. Womack let Penn know that hauling sludge down Scales Street had to come to a stop. Penn acquiesced. On the next trip, the two mules pulled the wagon and its load right down Main Street. For some time Penn did his best to convince the congregation of Salem United Methodist Church, adjacent to the plantation and founded in 1799, to sell their property to him. According to my uncle Ab, when the church’s board of trustees voted not to sell the property, Penn had his horse stables built right next door to — and upwind of — the sanctuary, which had stood there more than a century. The first time Dr. Coates’ wife was invited to visit the Penns, the first words out of Jeff Penn’s mouth were, “What in the hell did you want to marry that damn cat doctor for?” Sarah Coates replied, “Because I loved him.” By contrast, Miss Betsy was kind to everyone. “I never heard Miss Betsy say one, not one, unkind word about anything to anybody, in no form or shape or fashion,” Janie Jones says. Janie recalls being summoned to the house and being told that Mrs. Penn had suffered from a cerebral hemorrhage and was unlikely to recover. When Janie arrived, Miss Betsy’s dog Amos had been shut out on the porch and was barking: “He was yupping and barking and scratching and carrying on.” Janie told Dr. Thomas Spanish 16th Century Tabouret The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Rabbit” Forbes that Mrs. Penn doted on Amos. “‘He slept with her all the time,’ I said, ‘and if Miss Betsy could speak, she would want him on the bed.’” Amos got his way and Janie says “he flew up there and lay there, and every once in a while, he would kind of whimper, just a tiny whimper, just a’looking at her.” Mrs. Penn died the following day and was buried, according to her wishes, next to Jeff’s heart. At the funeral, Miss Janie says, “She had all the black men, the field men on the place, and they had Pair of East Indian Stone on black suits and had on white gloves, and Buddha Statues, 18th century they were the pallbearers.” Although he preceded his wife in death by 19 years, Jeff Penn remained a force to be reckoned with. Mrs. Penn had asked to be buried facing east, but when workmen began digging her grave, they hit rock. “They had to come into town and get some dynamite,” Janie recalls. Problem was, she says, “they might blow Mr. Penn right out of the ground. So they had a tussle with that.” In the end, Miss Betsy was buried facing north. In the aftermath of bankruptcy proceedings involving the companies once controlled by Chinqua Penn’s current owner, Calvin Phelps, the entire contents of the house, from Mr. Jeff’s canes to Miss Betsy’s silk parasol, were auctioned off. Even the light fixtures were ripped from the walls and ceilings. Chinqua Penn Plantation’s future has never been more uncertain than it is today. Gloria Best has donated the tapes she made to the Gerald B. James Library at Rockingham Community College so anyone can listen to them, and she remains a champion of preserving the memory of Jeff and Betsy and their beloved Chinqua Penn. “I had fallen in love with Chinqua Penn,” she says of her five-year quest to capture the voices of Chinqua Penn, “and seeing the foundation was letting it go down, I thought this is the only rescue I can think of. Once the logs and the stones decay, there’s still love that can be shared.” OH October 2012

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The Ghosts of Aycock Auditorium In a year noted for several milestone birthdays, 85-year-old Aycock Auditorium makes a hauntingly beautiful home of the performance arts By Jim Schlosser

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro



ane Aycock, the eternally grieving ghost of Aycock Auditorium, must have smiled. Laughter rose gradually from several thousand living people seated in the auditorium watching a stunt on the big stage. The occasion was a concert by the zany comedian/band leader Spike Lee and his City Slickers, in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Two of the City Slickers struggled unsuccessfully to lift a barrel. Finally, one reached inside and removed a newspaper. That did it. They easily picked up the barrel and carried it off stage. The audience cackled. OK, you had to be there. But make no mistake, Jones and his band were funny and talented, including their recordings of All I Want for Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth and Beetlebaum, a song about horse racing with a line that goes, “Toothpaste is being squeezed on the rail.” You also had to be at Aycock to appreciate comedian/pianist Victor Borge tumbling off his seat while attempting to make serious music. You had to be there to be mesmerized by the performances of Eugene Ormandy and his Philadelphia Orchestra, by singers Nelson Eddy and Dionne Warwick, by pianists Arthur Rubinstein, Roger Williams and Van Cliburn, by Arthur Fiedler leading the Boston Pops, by Tyrone Power, Raymond Massey and Anne Baxter acting in John Brown’s Body. Aycock has grown so old — it turns 85 this year — that it was once young enough to host a concert by the elderly John Philip Sousa. Brian Fuller, Aycock’s production manager, has heard stories of Sousa’s band stopping on a train a few blocks from campus and marching to Aycock. “I really enjoy this building,” says Fuller, whose office is off a two-story lobby so spacious that it once served as a precinct polling place. “There is so much history in this building. The stories I hear.” There’s a move to build downtown a performing arts theater to replace the now outdated War Memorial Auditorium at the Coliseum Complex. Until War Memorial opened in 1959, Aycock was Greensboro’s performing arts center, starting with its dedication in June 1927, with 2,500 seats, on the campus of the North Carolina College for Women (now UNCG). The auditorium’s mission was made clear: It wasn’t to be just a campus structure. It was to serve the entire city. And it met its mission. Even though it doesn’t host big name performers with the freThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

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quency it once did, Aycock stays booked. Campus events keep it humming throughout the school year and with music camps during the summers. Aycock looks as grand as when Greensboro architect Harry Barton designed it and J.A. Jones Construction Co. of Charlotte built it. One steel beam was so long, it had to arrive on a train traveling the streetcar tracks that then split Spring Garden Street. The train reached Aycock on an specially built spur track. For the first year, Aycock was known as “the new auditorium.” In 1928, the university trustees voted to honor former Gov. Charles Brantley Aycock. The governor has been the subject in recent decades of much historical revision. Civil rights leaders are appalled that so much in Greensboro — an auditorium, a public school, a heavily traveled street and a neighborhood — are named for a man who won office waging a white supremacist campaign in 1900. However, once in office Aycock became a champion of education for whites and blacks. What a year 1927 was for Greensboro. In addition to Aycock, the luxurious, 13-story King Cotton Hotel opened. So did the spacious Carolina Theatre; the Guilford Building, an 11-story downtown office structure; and the block-long Southern Railway Passenger Station, now known as the Galyon Depot. Aycock cost $391,000 ($4.9 million in today’s dollars) plus a $6,000 fee for Barton, who designed 17 other buildings on the campus. What a feat the college’s president, Julius Foust, pulled off persuading the state legislature to grant the money to build the largest auditorium on any of the state-supported college or university campuses. And it was built, no less, at what was the only state school for women. As someone said when the auditorium opened, quoting Rudyard Kipling, “The thing which couldn’t has occurred.” The legislature specified it didn’t want Aycock looking like a typical theater. The lawmakers shared public sentiment that associated theaters with frivolity. Except for the extra high roof in the back over the stage, Aycock could pass for a classy looking science or math building.

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Architect Barton meant for Aycock to be viewed from all sides. The front facing Tate Street looks imposing with eight columns that hold up a tall limestone portico. Six pilasters decorate the north and south sides. The rear even has a decorative motif high on the red brick. The total cost seems ridiculously low considering the proposed downtown performing arts center would cost $60 million. Fuller points out a renovation of Aycock four years ago cost $28 million. The auditorium’s June 1927 opening meant that the school founded only 35 years before could seat all 2,000 students. They no longer had to go in shifts to the 700-seat auditorium in the old Students Building. It meant that the university’s growing theater program under professor Raymond Taylor would have classy digs to stage as many as seven performances a year. The opening ceremonies attracted representatives from every class in the school’s history. They heard a dedication speech by Rabbi Stephen Wise, a noted orator and writer from New York City. And the university’s “PlayLikers” theater group performed Alice Sit-By-The-Fire. It would be the first of hundreds of plays and musicals students have performed on Aycock’s massive oak-floor stage.


ycock, at Tate and Spring Garden streets, occupies a site where a house once stood. Enter Jane Aycock. Her name is heard most often in October, the month of Halloween. Legend says she was a woman who became so distraught over losing her home to the auditorium that she killed herself. Her spirit then moved into the attic high above Aycock’s wide, sweeping balcony. Serious people swear they’ve been in the auditorium alone when lights go on and off or a trumpet plays or doors open and close for no apparent reason. Who else but Jane Aycock? A ghost hunter, a college professor no less, visited Aycock a few years ago, set up some equipment and announced The Art & Soul of Greensboro

he was receiving electronic vibes or “orbes.” He interrupted them to mean the presence of an invisible force. Who else but Jane Aycock? Overlook the fact that a woman who really did get displaced when Aycock was built moved elsewhere and led a happy life. Ghost or not, the 2008 renovations reduced Aycock’s capacity by nearly 1,000 seats, to 1,600. The new seats, covered in red, are wider and take up more space. It was discovered that students — and the general public for that matter — had grown wider since 1927. Seats were eliminated in the rear of the balcony to make way for mechanical equipment. Removable seats were placed over the orchestra pit. With a push of a button, the pit can be uncovered for use by orchestras who play during musicals and dance shows. Acoustics are outstanding. A person can stand on stage and carry on a conversation with people in the balcony, without voices being raised. Every public school student in the city and county schools knows Aycock. For at least 70 years or more, several times a year, school buses arrive on Tate Street, disgorging hundreds of youngsters. Have mercy. They have to endure ballet, just as students long before them tolerated classical music concerts. They enjoyed only one fun piece, the playing of the “Lone Ranger” song, also known as The William Tell Overture. Visiting students of long ago also liked the U.S. Navy Band, with a sailor who made music on a typewriter (Leroy Anderson’s The Typewriter).


ycock stays busy with performances and rehearsals by UNCG’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance. The well-known acts that still come are part of Music, Theatre and Dance’s performing arts series. Doc Watson performed at Aycock eight months ago, one of his last performances before his recent death. Fuller says comedian Lily Tomlin packed the place four years ago. She was one of the first to use Aycock’s new and spacious dressing rooms, created during the renovation and located beneath the stage. The Grammy-award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops of Durham, with a member who graduated from UNCG, opened the 2012–13 performance art series in September. Jane Aycock was there, as she has been for every show and lecture ever held in the auditorium. “That story will last forever,” says Fuller, who came to Aycock four years after a stint with Triad Stage downtown. “I personally have not had any experience with her and I have been in here late at night with all the lights out. But I’ve heard many stories from people. Their experiences seem very real to them.” The echoes of many other artists — ghosts of another sort — fill the memories of Aycock fans. Many recall a who’s who of popular R&B acts performing at Aycock during the 1960s and ‘70s including Jerry Butler, Ike and Tina Turner, and Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Other notables include opera singers Lily Pons and Risë Stevens; pianists Sergei Rachmaninoff and Margaret Truman; Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, the New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Mantovani, and the NBC Orchestra; the Vienna Boys Choir; actors Nelson Eddy, Jeanette MacDonald, Hal Holbrooke, Julie Harris, Faye Emerson and Agnes Moorehead; poets Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg and Edna St. Vincent Millay; writers Sherwood Anderson, Pearl Buck, Thornton Wilder, Thomas Mann and Joseph Heller; political commentators William F. Buckley and Norman Cousins; inventor George Washington Carver; dance leaders Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille; philosopher Will Durant; news anchor Dan Rather; former Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg; historian Arthur Schlesinger; famed lawyer Clarence Darrow; The Kingston Trio; former Vice President Alben Barkley and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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2012 O.Henry Magazine Short-Story Winners General Non-Student Category First Place

The Stone Bull By Miriam Delaney Heard

Roy Parker had loved his wife for

as long as he could remember. Even now, after more than twenty years of marriage, he still felt a stirring in his chest as he watched her sleep. Cora made a neat, slender mound in their four-poster bed, a ripple beneath the snowy white bedspread. Roy matched his breaths to the hypnotic rhythm of the bedcovers rising and falling as he sat in a straight chair propped against the bedroom wall — a sentinel on his nightly watch. Roy had loved Cora even when they were kids, and she wouldn’t give him the time of day. A silent, coffee-colored boy in patched clothes, Roy had hardly been able to carve out any time for school with all of the work that had to be done on the forty acres that his daddy sharecropped. When he did get to attend Carter G. Woodson Elementary, he had been awed by the ginger-skinned Cora Avery, who stood out in the schoolyard like a fairy princess with her two fat braids, her neatly pressed dresses, and her full lunch pail. During the Depression, when most every family in Pine Point had too many children and too little food, Cora, an only child, was an oddity. She never wore hand-me-downs like everyone else. She had a tall, strong daddy, a pretty momma, and a bedroom where she got to sleep all by herself. Most of all, Cora radiated such joy from her hazel eyes. When her daddy went missing, and later, when everyone accepted that white folks had killed Samson Avery, Cora had changed. Just little changes at first. Her hair was no longer neatly combed. The part down the middle was crooked as if her momma had been too busy to tend to her, and Cora had tried to fix her own plaits. Her legs grew too long for her skirts, but no one let out her hem. It was Cora’s eyes, though, that nearly broke Roy’s heart. They lost that saucy sparkle; they looked dull and dejected as if she’d opened a brightly wrapped Christmas present and found it full of sand. Roy made it his mission to get Cora to smile. He snatched apples from the barrel at the general store to give her at lunchtime, paying no mind to the rumblings of his own belly that his momma’s cold biscuits and a dollop of sorghum syrup never assuaged. He brought her satin ribbons, bouquets of pink bush roses, and once, a white lace handkerchief. When they were no longer children, Roy knew he wasn’t the sort of man that Cora would give her heart to easily. Cora belonged with somebody like Roosevelt Turner, somebody with good hair and easy

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laughter. Roosevelt was stylish, and he had all the same moves as the dancers in the colored minstrel shows that came to the fairgrounds once a year. He was like quicksilver with his compliments and jokes, and girls hung on Roosevelt’s every word. Roy knew his Cora wouldn’t marry the smooth talking roller, though. He knew it even when he came home one weekend and saw her dancing cheek to cheek with Roosevelt in Walter Lee’s café. Roosevelt Turner was restless and unreliable. Cora wasn’t going to marry a man who might leave her. Meanwhile, Roy worked out a plan of his own. Being a funeral director was one of the few respectable jobs where a colored man could earn a good living, so he apprenticed himself to his uncle in LaGrange, an embalmer. Roy studied hard and passed the state board examination. He became as dependable and as sturdy as a Georgia pine — saving money, writing to Cora every week. After Roosevelt Turner rode off on a train headed for Detroit, leaving Cora with kisses and empty promises, Roy came home and married her. He opened his own funeral parlor in Pine Point, and Cora had worked right beside him until the babies started coming. Roy, Jr. and Beverly not quite fourteen months apart. Then five years later, Anna. And just when they thought they were done, Henry. Cora called him her change of life baby. Junior and Beverly, they were just like their momma, fearless and stubborn with a rod of steel for a backbone. And Henry was Roy’s big brother Sammy all over again — good-natured and cheerful. Henry could coax the meanness out of Satan with a smile and a wink. But Anna, sweet Anna. Doe-soft brown eyes; timid and tenderhearted. Roy started as a car drove past the house. In an instant, he was up from his chair, reaching for the loaded shotgun beside him. He pressed his body against the bedroom wall while he watched the headlights on the car cast crazy shadows in the front yard. The car drove past and disappeared down Pope School Road. Roy let out the breath that he didn’t realize he had been holding. It had been the same every night since that brick had been thrown through the window. They had registered Anna in the white high school that morning, and all hell had broken loose by the afternoon: death threats over the phone; carloads of rednecks driving past the house, cursing and jeering. The Reverend Hairston and Lawyer Jessup from The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the NAACP had told them that they could expect some retaliation. They had promised that the Parker family would be protected, told them that they could count on the support of the Attorney General and the full resources of the Justice Department. Only the Attorney General and the Justice Department had not been on Pope School Road when that brick came through their living room window. There had been no protection when Roy and his oldest son found the dynamite under the front porch, the dynamite that had somehow slipped out of the duct tape that was still wrapped around the brick, the dynamite that had landed, by the grace of God, under their porch and not in their home. When Junior, young fool that he was, had picked up the makeshift bomb and hurled it into the empty field next to the house like he was a quarterback trying to get a third down conversion, there had been a mighty explosion. The blast had fallen a tree and burned the surrounding brush, but it had not maimed or incinerated Roy’s family. Tomorrow, he was supposed to walk his baby girl into that high school and hand her over to those murdering bastards. Roy had protested Anna’s attending that school with everything he had. When representatives from the NAACP, the SCLC, and the SNCC all came to his house to tell him that it was imperative to force Pine Point to abide by that Supreme Court decision, Roy said his Anna was not going to that school. When Cora, still breathing fire and brimstone over her father’s murder, insisted that it was high time to send a message to whites in Palmetto County that they couldn’t kill a Negro with no more thought than they would give to shooting a dog just ’cause he wanted honest pay for honest work; when she vowed that nobody was going to tell Samson Avery’s grandchildren where they could eat, piss, and sleep, Roy had held firm. His Anna was not going to that school. It was Anna herself that had been his undoing, when she’d grasped his hand and said softly, “Somebody’s got to be first, Daddy.” Somebody’s got to be first. Roy had read a section of an encyclopedia once that talked about folks who lived thousands of years ago on the other side of the world. Once a year, they held a ceremony and sacrificed one of the village’s children to a god made of stone. He could still remember the picture. The stone god with a face like a bull and a lap made of fire. A man on his knees, his arms outstretched, about to toss a live baby into that fire — all so their warriors could defeat an enemy in battle, or so that a drought would end and the village could have a good harvest. Roy wondered if the man held his own child or someone else’s. He peered through the window up and down the quiet street. Roy propped his gun against the wall and sat back in his chair to watch his wife sleep. OH Miriam Delaney Heard graduated with honors from Salem College with a degree in English and creative writing. She was a member of the charter class of Elon University School of Law and since her admission to the bar, she has worked for the Greensboro office of the statewide nonprofit law firm, Legal Aid of North Carolina, Inc. Her avocation is creative writing, and she is working with the Writers’ Group of the Triad Novel Writers Critique Group. Fred Chappell’s comment: “The Stone Bull” — Has suspense and a neat circular organization, ending where it begins. It is a respectful portrait of a good and faithful man. But he is caught up in a terrible irony. He has played by the rules of a segregated society and has succeeded — but now must put himself and his family in peril to advance the cause of others. Sad and true. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry Magazine was deeply honored to have acclaimed poet and novelist Fred Chappell agree to serve as judge of the Non-Student and Student categories of the 2012 inaugural O.Henry Magazine Short Story Contest. “Ol’ Fred,” as he signs his letters, is the author of over a dozen award-winning books of poetry, several novels and short-story collections, and two books of critical prose. His numerous awards include the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Bollingen Award, the Aiken Taylor Award, an award from the National Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Best Foreign Book prize from the Academie Francaise. He was named North Carolina Poet Laureate in 1997, a position he held until 2002. Chappell helped establish the nationally recognized MFA Writing Program at UNCG, where he earned the O.Max Gardner Award for Teaching and taught for more than 40 years. Fred and his wife Susan reside in Greensboro. For this inaugural contest, the staff of O.Henry picked the Young Writers Category winners. In all, O.Henry received more than 75 short-story submissions and wishes to thank the Greensboro Public Library for its generous joint sponsorship of the contest, an event we plan to make an exciting part of the magazine’s life every autumn.

General Non-Student Category 1. “The Stone Bull” by Miriam D. Heard 2. “Deadline” by Tim Dancy 3. “The Cabin” by Chip Bristol Honorable Mention — “It Wasn’t in the Cards” by Trudy Atkins Honorable Mention — “The Chess Game” by M.E. Hayes Honorable Mention — “Jacob’s Dinner” by Tim Dancy Student Category 1. “Music in the Streets” by Katie Hall 2. “I Call Him Runner” by Ashley Atkins 3. “Isabel Mackensie” by Evan Petty Honorable Mention — “Little Artist” by Hannah Turner Honorable Mention — “The Evil Within” by Julianne Jackson Young Writers 1. “A Day of Difference” by Rachel Henley 2. “Different” by Junn Park 3. “The Spirit Saver” by Kristin Hogan Honorable Mention — Untitled by Haley Combrinck Graham October 2012

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2012 O.Henry Magazine Short-Story Winners General Non-Student Category Second Place

Deadline By Tim Dancy

Tonio navigated a room of Formica-topped tables,

mostly empty, making his way to the lacquered mahogany bar that ran half the length of the far wall. Naugahyde bar stools, reddish-brown. He chose one the same way men choose urinals — dead center of the widest open space — and perched atop it like an old gray pelican. His pupils, pin-points in tiny green pools, slowly widened in the relatively dim light. Three days of white stubble across a tanned face. Expensive gold watch on his meaty wrist. “Tonio, Tonio . . . feliz cumpleaños, amigo!” An icy, brown bottle appeared from the reach-in cooler. Tonio nodded his approval and Carlos pried off the cap with a church key. Humid air poured through the open windows, condensing on the glass, soaking the paper napkin beneath. “Gracias, si. . . sixty today.” He nodded and smiled. Carlos, born in Cuba, spoke English well enough. He had taught Tonio Spanish and they still bantered a little. Mostly they talked about Havana. What it would be like to walk those streets (again, for Carlos); to put on a suit and spend the nights in jazz clubs, entertaining beautiful Spanish women with stories, real and imagined. They did travel, fishing trips mostly, but never in sight of Carlos’ homeland. “You having your birthday dinner here, my friend? Not going over to Tavernier for a steak?” “No, no . . . plans for later. Dozen oysters’ll do for now. Fresh?” “They were still in the Indian River when you woke up this morning, my friend.” “God himself was still asleep when I got up, amigo. You know what they say: He who doesn’t scatter the morning dew will never comb gray hairs.” “You must have rolled across the grass, then, my friend . . .” Carlos laughed and attempted to pull off the old man’s straw hat that covered his silver locks. He met with an immovable block from the aforementioned meaty wrist. “Who said that, Papa?” “Dr. Thompson.” “Ah, the good doctor. I recall he did more scattering than combing, no?” “True enough. But those were his terms. That . . .” he took a long, slow drink of the beer, “. . . you have to respect.” “A man . . . he can be destroyed but not defeated.” “Yes, now Ernest did say that. True as ever.” Carlos, smiling as always, disappeared into the kitchen. Tonio spun half-

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way around on the stool and surveyed the bar. The air smelled like onion rings and cigar smoke. And rosemary. Frank, the cook, plucked it from bushes out front and used it on every fish he grilled. Katie. Practically dancing across the floor with an empty tray under one arm and two empty Corona bottles dangling from her slender fingers like wind chimes, her ever-present smile and sapphire-blue eyes gleamed like fireworks. Tonio helplessly smiled at her. She took a detour to say hello. When a girl that beautiful, he thought, goes out of her way to spend a little of her attention on you, it makes your day. “Hey, sweetie, you’re here early!” “A little, just in for a bite, and to say hello. Have plans for later. Birthday today.” Katie couldn’t have smiled wider if she’d found a winning lottery ticket on the floor. She dispatched the tray and bottles and wrapped her arms around the old man, kissing him on the cheek. She’d known Tonio for three years and he was something of a father figure to her. She’d moved to Florida after graduating from Catholic school and deciding not to follow along with the life her mother had planned for her. “I almost forgot . . . Sixty! Congrats to you! Happy birthday!” Tonio thanked her. He thought of how ancient sixty must seem to someone barely old enough to even work in a bar. And the reality of how quickly sixty creeps up on you. “I’m buying you a shot. Sit tight.” Katie disposed of her tray, tossed the Corona bottles into a bin, and poured shots of tequila into a pair of glasses. Tonio reached for the salt and lime wedges. “To Tonio — a very happy birthday and many more!” The taste of raw salt on their tongues, they clinked their glasses, drank the shots, and squinted their eyes as they bit into the tangy limes. Katie shook her head a little and smiled again. She looked around, didn’t see Carlos . . . “Shhh!” . . . dropped the glasses out of sight, set the tequila bottle back in its place. She made her way back out to the dining room just as the kitchen door swung open. The scent of her perfume hovered in the air. Carlos spun a wide platter of ice in front of his friend; a dozen grey, shapeless shells scattered across it. Tonio wasted no time in grabbing the blunt, black-handled blade, shoving it into a hinge and popping it apart with no less skill than an artist or a dancer. He loosened the cold, quivering blob with a tiny fork and slurped it out of its hiding place; the briny liquor mixed The Art & Soul of Greensboro

on his tongue with the beer. He took a long, slow draw from the bottle and signaled Carlos for a replacement. “So what is it you’re doing tonight, my friend?” This was a small town and there were few secrets. Nothing was really taboo except keeping a secret. “Oh, nothing really. Quiet night at home, in fact. No company. Some reading, a few drinks. Just time to think, you know?” “OK, OK.” He eyed him with mock suspicion. “Maybe you stop back by if you get bored, OK?” Tonio pretended to agree as Carlos tended to some other customers and left him alone with his oysters. He was reminded of the first time he tried them. He was sixteen. He clumsily swallowed them from a bloody, bandaged hand; life experience in how to open the little bastards. He was hooked right away. They tasted like the sea. Two dozen empty shells and four empty bottles later (and one shot of tequila), it was time to settle and head out. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a hundred, folded it, handed it to Carlos. He promised to return, but Tonio stopped him and said no, ring it up and split the difference with Katie, if he would, please. The bartender gave him an incredulous stare. “Yes, please. I’m an old man today and I can do whatever I want.” Carlos thanked him and asked if they were still planning to fish in the morning. “Come around whenever you want . . . I’ll be there, right out back.” Tonio pushed aside the heavy front door and stepped out into the blinding sun and the heavy, tropical air. He fished a pair of Ray Bans from his shirt pocket and ambled through the parking lot, down the unpaved road. He followed it beneath a cluster of gumbo limbo trees, into the shade, the soles of his shoes packing down the crushed shells that passed for gravel in this part of the world. Low tide. Low tide exposed the pungent mud flats, tingeing the breeze with an earthy scent. Made him wish he was on the boat instead of on foot. A well-worn foot path departed from the road, twisted a few dozen feet beneath a thicket of leathery-leafed sea grape trees and coconut palms. Tonio emerged on a small, white beach, disturbing a heron who’d had it all to himself. Blue-gray feathers caught wind and carried him a hundred feet away from the interloper. Tonio, harmless to any creature (except oysters, at this point), rambled across the coarse, rocky sand, stepping over mounds of dead sea grass that marked the last, highest encroachment of the water. His backyard was a narrow strip of sandy earth, dotted here and there with short clumps of grass. A strip of rocks about one foot high stood guard against the onslaught of the sea; in reality, they provided refuge for crabs, much to the frustration of the local bird population. Tonio strolled purposely over the tiny rampart to a shrubby key lime tree. Producing an ancient pocket knife from his shorts, he selected one, plucked it, and carved a single slice, rotating the green orb between his thumb and the blade. He folded the knife and tossed the unneeded halves onto the beach. The back screen squeaked open and he let himself inside the two-story clapboard home. A glass was filled halfway with ice and the sliver of lime. Pausing at the bar, Tonio opened a fifth of Smirnoff, fitted it with a chrome spout, and poured one stream, then a second, of crystal liquor over the cubes. He twisted the plastic lid from a bottle of tonic, added a bit, and blended it all together with a bamboo skewer. No more stirrers. He relished the bitter fizz of tonic and the twinge of lime as the vodka burned its way down. He walked down the pine-floored hallway, creaking, toward his office. The dial on the wall safe spun like a tiny roulette wheel. Tonio’s eyes focused on the miniscule etched numbers . . . back to the left, carefully stopping on 45 . . . back to the right . . . and the cold metal handle clicked downward, retracting the bolts, swinging free. A small porcelain box; a pistol; a few envelopes; three sizable stacks of hundred dollar bills bound with rubber bands. He withdrew the contents, save the gun, and spread them out at his oak desk across the room. He carefully extracted a single sheet of The Art & Soul of Greensboro

paper from one of the envelopes. Hand-written, a bit yellowed, his own bold signature gracing the bottom of the page. He gulped his vodka tonic as he re-read it. The cash, neat stacks, inside the top left drawer. Four sealed envelopes with printed names, carefully arranged on the desk. He picked up the delicate blue porcelain box with his thick fingers and shook the contents, three green capsules, as green as his eyes, into his sweaty palm. They glittered like gems and fascinated him. Reminded him of the emeralds he’d seen in Mel Fisher’s museum; the ones reclaimed from the Atocha shipwreck, pulled back to the surface after nearly four hundred years on the sandy sea floor. He considered how foolish it was to own one of those emeralds. What does it mean to possess something that lay hidden in the earth for millions of years and, after you yourself return to that earth, continue to sparkle and shine for millions more? But he did own these pills. And as sure as he tossed them toward the back of his mouth, washed them down his throat with the liquor, they began to merge with him. Dissolving in his belly with the beer and the oysters. He had made good on the contract. Deadline met. He emptied a bit more vodka into his glass, retrieved his sunglasses from the kitchen counter, and made for the back door. As a young man, only twenty, Tonio came to realize that nothing has value in the absence of scarcity. In the same way that emeralds are prized more than sand, life is precious because it has a beginning and an end. Limited. On the evening of his twentieth birthday the precocious young man had made a contract with himself. Forty years. The best way to arrange his life, he reasoned, was to number his days. How frightening the thought of wasting one when you could literally pull out a calendar and see exactly how few still remained? He wouldn’t allow this most treasured resource to disappear between his fingers like worthless sand. Each day had a number. His stomach felt warm and he took a seat in his favorite Adirondack chair. He rested his wet glass on the cypress wood arm and focused on the chemicals swirling through his arteries like bandits on horseback, riding into some helpless village. He wouldn’t resist the bandits. His affairs were in order. He thought about his first wife, Maria, and the little boat that took them on their honeymoon to the Caymans. His friends, old and new. The house he grew up in and the grade school with the gnarled cedar tree next to the dusty baseball field. The sun was low enough now to watch; it slipped toward the water of Florida bay, hurling streaks of red and orange onto the choppy clouds. How many times had he watched it sink below that horizon? And this was the last time. In two or three days his friends (who were yet unaware of their part in this) would sail out and scatter what was left of him into the salty water. The green of his eyes began to give way to the everwidening blackness. The burning sphere of the sun touched the water and his lids fell shut. OH Tim Dancy, originally from Davidson County, studied at High Point University. Although always an avid reader, he did not begin writing short stories until he was nearly 40.

Fred Chappell’s comment: “Deadline” — What seems at first to be the portrait of an unremarkable man going through an established routine, even while celebrating his birthday, turns out to be a dramatization of Epicurean (or maybe Stoic) philosophy. There is a cheerful resignation in treatment and situation very classical in tone . . . Yet why does he give no thought as to how his death will affect his friends?

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2012 O.Henry Magazine Short-Story Winners Student Category First Place

Music in the Streets By K atie Hall

There was music. There was music in the streets. It wasn’t jazz or blue grass, rock, or classical. There weren’t pianos or violins, guitars or maracas. But there was music.

The sky was white with parachutes Yet I couldn’t see a thing Flash and thunder walked hand in hand Securing my well being

The music of bullets. The music of rain. People crying out to one another in pain. The stuttering shouts of silence ringing in the air. Twisting, calling, falling through the night sky More brilliantly lit up than anything I’d ever seen.

Music used to center me Help me find reality Until the day I couldn’t walk on my own two feet The day that I found music in the streets.

Dear Marny, We shipped out today. I can’t tell you where I’m going because I don’t even know myself. Somewhere in Europe though, I’m almost positive. I didn’t take my violin. One, because the guys kept making fun of me for it and two, I didn’t want no German shooting any holes in my baby. I think of you every day. How hard it must be for you, all alone. Already six guys I know have gotten those ‘dear John’ letters. I swear baby, I know it isn’t easy without me, but if you send me one I’m going to have to beat the pulp out of whoever it is you run off with. Even if I have to swim from Europe to do it. I didn’t know I got sea sick until this boat. And let me tell you, it’s not a good idea to get sick in a room with four hundred men. Especially sleep deprived, chain smoking, bored men. They’ll get over it though. I couldn’t sleep last night so I climbed up to the top deck to get some air. The sky was utterly clear and the sea calm. With no clouds in sight I could count the stars, one by one. There were hundreds of them Marny, more then you could ever imagine. You don’t see stars like this in the city. The sound of the boat skipping across the waves and the intense peacefulness of the moment made me think of you. Made me think of how you make me feel. I miss you Marny. Love always, Daniel Dear Daniel, Henry drove me out to a place with open sky tonight so I could look at the stars. I’m embarrassed to say that I cried while counting them, thinking

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of you on that boat, surrounded by strangers and sea. I miss you more than I ever thought I could miss anything. Nothing really exciting has happened here since you left except they no longer have cherries at the soda fountain. Someone was playing a violin in the music store the other day and I almost ran in to see if it was you. Then it squeaked and I knew it couldn’t be. Molly misses you; she asks why you don’t come around to give her piggy back rides anymore. I keep telling her to wait, you’ll come soon, but I think she’s starting to understand. There are so many pictures of military men up around town and so many men hugging women and children just as you hugged us that I think she knows you’ve gone somewhere far away. Mother tells her to stop whining and then goes back to staring out the window. She hasn’t been the same since my dad left. He’s in England right now, tells us he hasn’t even seen any combat, hasn’t fired his weapon. Yet still she sits, day in and day out, staring out the window, as if she stares hard enough, he might come sauntering up the front walk. Food is tight, I can see Molly losing weight, and Andrew, the little boy from next door, passed out yesterday because his older brothers had been stealing his food at dinner. And yet they’re walking around skinny as bean poles too. And to think that we’re so much better off than the rest of the world. I mean, we have gardens in our backyards that aren’t getting bombed and at least we still have food coming into our stores. Nursing school is going well, I think I might be able to graduate early. They keep telling us about how nurses are needed overseas to help the soldiers and though that is what I want to do, I could never leave Molly with my mother being like she is and with Henry leaving so soon. Did I tell you he was drafted? He leaves for basic training in two weeks. I wish he wasn’t going but I know he feels it is his duty, even if dad did make him promise The Art & Soul of Greensboro

to take care of the family while he was gone. He’s so small Danny. He only just turned 18. Sorry for rambling on like this. I just miss being able to talk to you every day. Stay safe and come home to me. Love always, Marny Marny, I’m sorry about Henry. I’m sure he’ll be safe. Just like I am. I don’t have much time for writing these days. I still can’t tell you where exactly I am but there’s a lot of action here. It seems like every time I close my eyes there’s another fox hole to jump out of or into or something like that. The medics here are saints, running through hell to get to the wounded. I’ve never seen anything like it. Everything seems different, hazy. As if I’m in a nightmare and I’ll wake up soon, with you breathing peacefully next to me in our meadow. Do you remember how we used to go out to that meadow across Richards’ creek? You used to fall asleep under the stars and I would just watch you breathe. The sky seemed bigger there, but closer at the same time. The sky here is tiny and far, far away. I never thought it would be possible to miss something that you can see every night, but I do. I miss the stars. Mostly I miss the stars you slept under. I miss your sweet smile and the sweet words that fell from it. I miss your little frown you got when you concentrated on your blueberry pie, and I miss your lips that taste like cherries. I miss the smell of your brown hair and the feel of your skin on mine. Wait for me. Love, Daniel Daniel, I used to sleep under the same stars you see now. We all see the same sky. Whenever you miss me just look at the stars and think, I will be seeing the same stars you are. There were reports on the radio last night of a bombing in which three hundred allied soldiers were either killed or wounded. I pray you weren’t among them. I miss you so badly Daniel. I miss you so much it hurts. Sometimes I dream about you and me. You come up to me and the sun is setting behind you and you’re wearing that blue shirt my momma made you and you’ve got that lopsided smile of yours. You say “Hey Marny, whatcha doin?” I just look at you and say, “Come home, come home to me Danny” and you just keep smiling that lopsided smile and look off into the distance and say, “The world’s still callin Marny.” You never could get enough of traveling could you? When you’ve had your fill though Danny, I promise I’ll be here, waiting. Just like I always am. In the dream I hear you playing your violin for your soldier friends somewhere out there in the world. I just can’t wait until I hear that sweet sound of music in our streets again. Be safe. Marny Marny, Your last letter took a while getting here but when it did, everyone wanted to smell it. Yeah you read that right. Some of your perfume was clinging to the paper along with that scent of the outdoors you never seem to lose. Everyone was grabbing at the paper trying to smell a piece of ‘home.’ I let ’em, for a while, until I finally wanted your letter to myself. We hit a rough patch yesterday, lost a couple of good guys. I don’t know how to put it into words Marny, this war. How can you describe this catastrophic series of events. There are boys out here no bigger than Henry, killing and dying. There’s blood everywhere. It’s all over my hands Marny and no matter how hard I scrub ‘em, even when my skin comes clean off, the blood stays. I don’t think I’ll ever get the stains out. Daniel

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Danny, I don’t know what to say. I don’t understand how people can ever think about taking a life. War is the most idiotic thing anyone could ever dream up. Don’t you worry though. As soon as you get back home I’ll whip up some of that homemade soap that smells like roses and that blood will wash right off. I started working with the wounded that have been shipped back here to the states. Momma is starting to complain about my attitude. She says I’ve been crying in my sleep. Sure, at the hospital it’s easy to keep my spirits up when I see how brave and selfless these men are, but they make me think of you Danny. I don’t want to ever see you in one of these places. I don’t want you in no hospital. I don’t want you to have to pretend you’re okay. I don’t want that for you. You just get on home to me in one piece. Your girl forever, Marny Marny, Marry me. Daniel Daniel, I thought you’d never ask. Love you forever and a day, Marny Dear Miss Marny Adams, We regret to inform you that Mr. Daniel Hornbeck was killed in action this day, June 6, 1944. He died a hero, saving his comrades from a similar fate. We have recovered the letters you sent to him and they will be returned to you as soon as possible. Enclosed is a note sent from his comrade and friend, Mr. Benjamin Markenson. We are so very sorry for your loss. Dear Miss Adams, Daniel told me so much about you I feel as if I know you. I’m sorry you must take this blow alone but I wanted to let you know that Danny loved you with all his heart. He was always talking about you, so much that we got into the habit of tellin him to shut up whenever he started to so much as say your name. He would tell us of your mutual love for music and on the night he died he told me that the stars were singing. The stars were singing to you. I’ve never written one of these letters before and rightly don’t know what to say. I’ll be praying for you. Sincerely, Benjamin Markenson

Dear Mr. Markenson, You just come on home. OH Katie Hall is a junior at Page High School. Fred Chappell’s comment: “Music in the Streets” — Is quite advanced in its approach. There is a prologue, musical in form, that we understand is spoken by “Daniel” only at the end of the story. And this is an epistolary tale, a hard thing to bring off, especially when set in a historical period. But the letters are utterly convincing — so convincing, in fact, that I began to wonder if the author might have found them in an attic trunk. But the ending had to be invented. A moving story . . . October 2012

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Story of a House

Poplar Hall

The Grande Dame of Irving Park opens her doors to all By Jim Schlosser • Photographs by Stacey Van Berkel


or years, people have paid to gawk while meandering through elegant Greensboro houses during annual home tours. One of the most visible and beautiful homes, however, has escaped visitation. That’s about to change. The house at 409 Sunset Drive has stood for 100 years across from the Greensboro Country Club, in old Irving Park. Construction began in 1912. Attorney Aubrey Lee Brooks and his wife, Helen Higbie Brooks, moved in the next year. The Brooks home will be among six houses, most in Irving Park, on the Greensboro Symphony Guild’s homes tour October 26, 27 and 28. Helen Brooks, the third generation of her family to occupy the spacious estate, says her parents opened the house for a Greensboro Medical Society Auxiliary social function in 1992. But she can’t recall

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it ever being on a homes tour. She treasures her privacy, just as her parents did. “It’s a big step for me to open the house to the public,” Brooks says. Josie Gibboney, vice chair of the homes tour says the Symphony Guild has not only secured Irving Park’s flagship house, “but the flagship house of Greensboro, as far as I’m concerned.” A.L. and Helen Brooks christened their estate Poplar Hall although a book about Greensboro architecture calls it The Poplars. Either way, the Brookses honored two tulip poplars that stood tall in 1912 — and still do — on the front lawn near the sidewalk paralleling Sunset Drive. One has a v-shaped opening in the trunk large enough that passersby sometimes enter. They discover that the tree is hollow. Yet it remains alive thanks to loving care by the Brooks family. The neoclassical revival-style house with apple-green shutters and six columns looks down on chunky century-old boxwoods. The house’s longevity is made obvious by an old photo in the upstairs The Art & Soul of Greensboro

bedroom. It shows a brick entrance gate — still there — and beyond it sheep grazing on the country club’s fairways. That’s how the club once cut the grass. The country club and Irving Park, both dating to 1909, were still being developed when the Brooks house was completed. That makes it among the earliest in old Irving Park, the city’s gold coast neighborhood since its founding. A.L. Brooks followed the lead of Irving Park’s developers by going elsewhere for top design talent. The developers brought in John Nolen of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to lay out the neighborhood, with the golf course as the centerpiece. Nolen was a Harvard-educated landscaper whose other North Carolina works include Charlotte’s mansion-filled Myers Park neighborhood and a quadrangle on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus. Brooks reached to New Haven, Connecticut, to architect Raymond Ellis, with a reputation for designing homes for the wealthy. Ellis also did other early Irving Park homes and at least one in Fisher Park. The Brooks house might very well be the oldest house in Irving Park that has remained in the same family. Helen Brooks, the granddaughter of Aubrey Lee and Helen Higbie Brooks, is a nurse practitioner with a doctorate. She works at an internal medicine practice in Reidsville Tuesdays and Thursdays and teaches at UNCG in the nursing program on Wednesdays and Fridays. When she earned her doctorate, she remembers telling someone that now she could rightfully say there’s another Dr. Brooks in the house. Her father, Dr. James Taylor Brooks, and mother, Dr. Jean Bailey Brooks, were practicing physicians. Dr. Jean Brooks was one of the city’s earliest female doctors.

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The husband and wife moved into the big house in 1974 following the death of A.L. Brooks’ widow, Helen Higbie Brooks. A.L. Brooks had died in 1958. Dr. James Taylor Brooks, their son, died in 1986, with his widow remaining in the house until her death in 2006. The second Helen Brooks and present woman of the house, now 50, moved in with her son, Taylor, 12, shortly after her mother’s death. She returned with vivid memories of having grown up there. “I did a lot of exploring,” she says of her childhood. “There was the barn in the back where I looked for and found old license plates from 1910 and 1912. There were lots of nooks and crannies in the house. My brother and I would have races down the banister.” Today, she continues making use of the entire house and grounds. She has rose and herb gardens. When she gets time away from the house, she likes to water-ski and snowski and to ride horses The house has eleven rooms, with soaring ceilings, a foyer that runs the length of the house, four bathrooms and two half-baths. It also has length-of-the house attic and basement. Five carefully groomed acres surround the house. A.L. Brooks was a flamboyant man with varied legal and business interests. He boldly challenged the establishment in court. He sued Southern Railway, Vick Chemical Co. and the city water department (for failing to supply sufficient water pressure during two fires). He was involved in the legal aftermath of the scandalous Libby Holman murder case. The ex-dancer was accused of killing her husband, Zachary Smith Reynolds, son of R.J. Reynolds, during a night of partying at Reynolda House in Winston-Salem. Brooks’ legal team won a huge settlement for Ann Cannon, Reynolds’ wife, before he divorced her to marry Holman. Brooks argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and was a friend of William Howard Taft, who served as U.S. president and was on the Supreme Court. He was also

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a confidant of Franklin Roosevelt. A strong New Dealer, Brooks’ views no doubt clashed with his conservative Irving Park neighbors. Brooks visited Roosevelt at Warm Spring, Georgia. The president hinted he might appoint Brooks to the High Court, but never did. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was close to the Brooks, and stayed at Poplar Hall when she came to Greensboro to deliver the commencement address at Woman’s College (now UNCG). “This is Eleanor’s bedroom,” Helen Brooks says, standing in a guest room on the second floor. Successful in many endeavors, A.L. Brooks failed at politics. He managed the losing 1904 N.C. gubernatorial campaign of Charles Stedman, a former Confederate Army officer. After moving to Greensboro, though, Stedman was elected to Congress, the last Civil War veteran to serve. Brooks lost a race for Congress in 1908 by 245 votes and in the 1920s missed being appointed to the U.S. Senate. A governor with whom he was close promised to name Brooks to succeed an old, feeble senator thought close to death. But the senator held on. A new governor was elected. He appointed someone else when the Senate seat became vacant. In business, Brooks headed a bank and organized insurance companies, including helping put together the merger that established Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co., now Lincoln Financial Group. He secured a $450,000 loan from Jefferson to build a cathedral, costing a total of $750,000, for First Presbyterian Church in Fisher Park in 1927. Brooks published his memoirs in 1950, A Southern Lawyer. He also was a frequent speaker and lecturer, who collected his talks in a book. With help from a UNC-Chapel Hill professor, Brooks put together two books of the collected papers of Judge Walter Clark, a state Supreme Court justice.

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Brooks no doubt did much of his writing in the warm, inviting library that extends from the front to the back of the house and features lots of handsome oak paneling and shelving along with a large fireplace. Brooks’ wife devised her own Dewey Decimal system by placing the busts of iconic figures over certain categories of books. Art books, for example, are under busts of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and music under Mozart and Beethoven. Calling the library a “constant source of pleasure,” A.L. Brooks notes in his memoirs that he agreed with a wise man who observed every man should have “a good lady, a library and a lake.” He achieved the third by building a 40-acre lake on land he owned north of the city. Some things inside and outside the house are gone from the A.L. Brooks era, including a whiskey still given the lawyer in lieu of a legal fee and a columned grape arbor where his wife grew scuppernongs. Gone, too, is the barn where the Brookses kept horses and a pony. One of their sons brought the pony into the house and tied it to the banister in the foyer. Helen Higbie Brooks was understandably mortified. The Brookses liked adventure. They once shipped their horses to Wilkesboro, where they climbed in the saddle and made a circuitous 250-mile ride to Asheville, where A.L. Brooks attended a meeting of the N.C. Carolina Bar Association, of which he was president. They had a goldfish pond on the grounds. It’s still there, but without water. Helen Brooks says caddies from the country club used to kill the fish by throwing rocks. The house’s interior has changed little. Original radiators still provide heat. Every bedroom has a sleeping porch. Helen’s favorite is just off the landing of the stairwell. “It’s like sitting in a tree house,” she says. “You are almost among the branches of the tree. You can look out and see the birds because you are at their level.” The house is filled with art and memorabilia, some by local artists, including a painting of Poplar Hall by Joe Morton, a local renaissance man who made a fortune in chemicals. At the back door sits a black doctor’s bag that belonged to James Taylor Brooks.

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Helen Brooks says her dad grabbed it when he left to make house calls. Exhibited by the front door is a collection of long-ago medical implements used by A.L. Brooks’ father, Zachary Taylor Brooks, who was a physician near Roxboro. A photo Helen Brooks prizes shows her mother, in a cap and gown, standing among men. She was the first female graduate of Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine. “There are people all over Greensboro she delivered,” Helen Brooks says. Those babies, long since grown into adults, are Jean Brooks’ legacy. Her father’s legacies also survive. He started a law firm that thrives, Brooks Pierce McLendon Humphrey and Leonard. Then there are the highly sought after Aubrey Lee Brooks Scholarships. They go to 17 students from Guilford and 13 other counties who agree to attend UNCG, UNC-Chapel Hill or N.C. State University. And there’s the legacy of the Brooks house. Almost surely it won’t face the fate of some other old Irving Park houses, which have been torn down and replaced with large, state-ofthe-art dwellings. Helen loves the place and has no plans to leave. “It’s important,” she says, “to keep this house in the family.” She’s thrilled that son Taylor, already an accomplished cello player (the house has a splendid music room), has indicated he wants the house someday. If you wish to go: Tickets purchased on the same days as the tour — Friday October 26 and Saturday October 27, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday October 28, 1­–5 p.m. — are $25. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $20 at Fleet-Plummer, the Extra Ingredient, New Garden Gazebo on Lawndale, Brown Gardiner Drug Co. and The Contemporary Lady. Additional details at www.gsoguild.org. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Life and Home Style

By Noah Salt

“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Great American Pumpkin Thanks to jack-o’-lanterns and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, pumpkins are the seasonal centerpiece of America’s most entertaining holiday — Halloween. But in terms of pure versatility as a foodstuff, few gifts from the garden can match the colorful pumpkin. The fall’s most famous fruit is indigenous to the Western hemisphere and a vital staple in the diet of American Indians, who ate it roasted, stewed and mashed into a variety of other dishes. It was also used in a variety of folk medicines, believed to cure snakebites and fade freckles. In New England, where pumpkins were introduced to the Pilgrims in 1621, pumpkin meat was brewed with persimmons and sweetened with maple syrup (another autumnal treat) to make a potent fermented beverage. Some believe the modern name derives from a common European “pompion” squash, so named by early colonists who soon incorporated it into everything from soup to pie. Last year, pumpkin-mad Americans purchased 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin. The largest pumpkin pie on record was five feet in diameter and weighed 350 pounds. It required 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin meat, 36 pounds of sugar, 12 dozen eggs, and six houses to bake. No record of how much Cool Whip was involved. Two of our favorite North Carolina Pumpkin festivals happen this month: Franklin’s 16th Annual Pumpkinfest on October 19-20 (an hour west of Asheville, “Home of the World Famous” Pumpkin Roll), and the ambitious Grover Pumpkin Festival in Cleveland County, (just off I-85 above the South Carolina state line), on October 27, a town-wide celebration that includes a wall of 700 lighted pumpkins carved by local schools and community organizations and rides on the Headless Horseman’s coach to the annual “Punkin Chunkin.”

Going Batty This Halloween Common brown bats, the kind one finds in these parts, sure get a bad rap. Long associated with witches and vampires and things that creep in the night, believed to carry disease and even suck blood, bats are in fact one of the most social, clean and useful mammals on Earth. A single mature bat, for instance, is capable of eating anywhere from 3,000 to 7,000 insects in a single evening, including bugs that wreak havoc on agriculture. Despite popular notions to the contrary, they’re equipped with excellent eyesight and a highly advanced form of radar, which explains their skill at flying in complete darkness. Moreover, bats are the only true flying mammal, critical to maintaining the environmental balance, and long-lived creatures (surviving anywhere from 10-15 years) worthy of their own scientific designation, Chiroptera, which means “hand-wing.” How close are they to humans? In nature, the closest thing resembling a bat wing is a human hand. Need a few more reasons to fall for bats? Nectar-eating bats help pollinate plants and fruit-eating bats spread seeds that feed millions of migrating birds. Bat saliva is even used in certain human heart medicines. Unfortunately, owing to decades of misunderstanding and stubborn stereotypes that date from ancient times, bat populations are sadly in decline. This Halloween, why not do your garden and the world at large a big favor and learn the many benefits of this magnificent winged creature by setting out to build bat houses on your property? A great place to start is www.batconservation.org. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October’s Garden To-Do List Planting spring bulbs and transplanting perennials top the midautumn work list. October is also the time to clean up summer’s refuse and take stock of how your garden performed. Here’s our favorite gardener’s personal October To-Do List: If you haven’t planted spring bulbs yet, now’s the time to get cracking. As a rule of planting thumb, tulips, daffodils and crocus should be planted at a depth approximately three times their width — nine inches for tulips and three for crocus. Make sure you water amply before putting it to bed. The reason many transplanted shrubs, flowers and bulbs fail to thrive in spring is because of winter dryness, which can go unnoticed. While you’re at it, give your rhododendrons, young pines and mature shrubs a good autumn soaking. Consider leaving remnants of your summer garden for wildlife food and structural winter interest. If you do clear the garden beds, use this material to finally start a serious composting bin, incorporating manure, shredded leaves, and other organic kitchen leftovers to a pile that will soon yield “black gold,” a mulch that can enrich any garden soil. Speaking of soil, now is a great time to determine the proper pH of your soil by having it tested. Any garden center can give you easy instructions on how to take your samples — six different samples from every corner of your garden is a good rule — and provide information on testing labs, enabling you to determine what soil amendments will improve your garden and next year’s yield. Mow your grass at a height of two inches until it goes dormant, then apply a light winter fertilizer for the Big Sleep. Finally, this is the time to clean that cluttered garden shed and organize your tools, repairing whatever can be done and making an early list of needs for the spring.

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October 2012

Arts Calendar

October 1

TOP 100 FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Count • down the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films

October 1 – December 16

October 2

with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Guilford College, Hege Library, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 316-2438.

Greensboro Public Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2471.

GUILFORD COLLEGE ART GALLERY FANCY NANCY STORYTIME. 3:30 – 4:30 • • EXHIBIT. Stephen Hayes: Cash Crop. Exhibit grapples p.m. Storytime and art for aspiring young artists.

of All Time. The Last Picture Show (No. 95). Tickets: $6/adults; $5/students, seniors & military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

Southern Lights Bistro, 2415-A Lawndale Dr. Info: (336) 379-9414 or www.brucepiephoff.net.

October 1 – November 3

WOODS OF TERROR. 7 p.m. A 90-minute • tour and haunted attraction created for adults. Not

TOP 100 FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Count • down the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films

recommended for children under the age of thirteen without a parent. Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, with an exception during the week of Halloween. Tickets: $25 (Friday & Saturday); $15 (Sunday through Thursday) Woods of Terror, 5601 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: www.woodsofterror.com.

of All Time. Pulp Fiction (No. 94). Tickets: $6/adults; $5/students, seniors & military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

October 3

JOURNEY IN CONCERT. 7 p.m. Featuring • special guests Pat Benatar and Loverboy. Tickets:

October 1–6

ART AUCTION & EXHIBIT. Bidding on the Ones. A retrospective art show and auction to establish a scholarship for the Art Department at UNCG. William Mangum Fine Art Gallery, 2166 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: 336-379-9200 or williammangum.com.


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October 2012

Performing arts

LIVE MUSIC AT SOUTHERN LIGHTS • BISTRO. 7 – 9 p.m. Bruce Piephoff, folk singer.

$49.50, $59.50 & $69.50. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www. greensborocoliseum.com; www.journeymusic.com.

• • Film


• • Fun



Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October Arts Calendar

Tongues of Fire, October 12 & 13 Bidding on the Ones, October 1 – 6

p.m. New York-based chamber musicians with an electric repertoire that ranges from Beethoven to Chick Corea. Tickets: $10, $6, $4. UNCG Recital Hall, 100 McIver St., Greensboro. Info: www.17daysgreensboro.com.

TOP 100 FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Count • down the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films

of All Time. The French Connection (No. 93). Tickets: $6/adults; $5/students, seniors & military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

October 3–11

UNCG THEATRE. 7 p.m. (Oct. 3-4, 9-11); • 8 p.m. (Oct. 5 & 6); 2 p.m. (Oct. 6 & 7). Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson. Book by Alex Timbers; music and lyrics by Michael Friedman. Tickets: $23/adults; $18/seniors & students. Taylor Theatre, 406 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-4849 or boxoffice.uncg.edu.

October 4

BOOK LAUNCH & SIGNING. 5:30 p.m. • Wake Forest University professor and historian Michele

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photo by Bert VanderVeen Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, October 3 – 11

Gillespie speaks about his book, Katharine and R.J. Reynolds: Partners of Fortune in the Making of the New South, the first biography on R.J. and Katharine Reynolds. Tickets: $40 (includes copy of book). Reynolda House, 2250 Reynolda Rd., Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 758-5150 or reynoldahouse.org.

SUSTAINABILITY FILM SERIES. 6:30 – 8 • p.m. Terra Blight explores America’s consumption of

computers and the hazardous waste we create in pursuit of the latest technology. Free. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.


TOP 100 FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Count • down the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Films of All Time. Sophie’s Choice (No. 91). Tickets: $6/adults; $5/students, seniors & military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

ARTIST TALK. 8 – 9 p.m. Artists Irwan • Ahmett, Tita Salina and Naeun Jeon share concepts, culture, and art through this salon-style presentation and discussion. Elsewhere, 606 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 303-1596 or www.goelsewhere.org.

October 4–6

THE DANCE PROJECT. 8 p.m. An eve• ning with the Van Dyke Dance Group. Tickets:

$15. UNCG Dance Theater, 1408 Walker Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5789.

October 4–20

UPSTAGE CABARET AT TRIAD STAGE. • 8 p.m. (Thurs. – Sat.); 2 p.m. (Sun.) The Woman in

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October Arts Calendar

event featuring donations from artists, artisans and numerous local businesses. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7485 or www.greensboroart.org.

Black. A ghost play. Tickets: $18/general admission; $15/Cabaret Club members. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www. triadstage.org.

ELSEWHERE’S FIRST FRIDAY. 6 – 10 p.m. • Experience installations, performances and works

October 5

WEAVERFEST 2012. 5 – 9 p.m. A showcase • of talent from Greensboro’s own downtown high

in progress by resident artists. Elsewhere, 606 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 303-1596 or www. goelsewhere.org.

school, Weaver Academy, featuring live music, singing, dance, and drama, along with art and photography exhibits. Festival Park, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2712.

skilled ballroom dancers, then watch how Greensboro Ballet’s dancers use the tango styles to influence their interpretation of this enticing dance on pointe. Free concert. Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7480 or www.greensboroballet.org.

FIDDLE DEE DEE GALA. 7 – 10 p.m. ART EXHIBIT & OPENING RECEPTION. • • Greensboro Symphony Guild Tour of Homes Gala. 6 – 10 p.m. Architecture and the World Around Us. On

RED OAK BEER GARDEN. 5 – 9 p.m. Enjoy • Red Oak beer while relaxing to live music from local

bands. Free to enter; beers and brats for sale. Carolina Theatre Parking lot, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7523 or www.17daysGreensboro.org.

FIRST FRIDAY. 6 – 9 p.m. Self-guided walking • tour of local galleries, studios, museums, alternative art venues, live music and more. Downtown Greensboro. Info: www.downtownfridays.com.

HOUSE WARMING: A HANDS ON ART • PARTY. 6 – 9 p.m. Join the knitting circle, enter the casserole and home brew contests, play Pictionary or have a thermal spectrum family portrait. Wear an apron or pajamas for a free beverage. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org.

display through October 27. The Studio & Gallery, 109 N. Cedar St., Suite No. 3, Greensboro. Info: (336) 4204810 or thestudiogallery. vpweb.com.

IRONIC TWISTS & TURNS: STORYTELLING SHOWCASE. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Join members of the Triad Storytelling Exchange for entertaining story performances suitable for all ages. African American Atelier Inc., 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617.

Tickets: $75. Info: (336) 632-1812 or www.gsoguild. org.

LIVE MUSIC AT TATE STREET. 8 p.m. Astanza Project. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

MUSIC AT THE GREEN BEAN. •8 LIVE – 11 p.m. Old North State. The Green Bean, 341 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 691-9990 or www.thegreenbeancoffeehouse.blogspot.com.

October 5–6 & 12–13

ONE ARTISTIC COLLECTIVE STAGE PLAY. • 7:30 p.m. The Colored Museum. Eleven vignettes that

satirize elements of African American culture. Each story illuminates and mocks racial stereotypes in America in a vaudevillian mosaic spanning over 200 years. Tickets: $10/adults; $5/students. Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center, 1700 Orchard St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-5881 or www.city-arts.org.

TANGOS & TUTUS. 7 – 9 • OH SNAP! THE SILENT AUCTION. 6 – 9 p.m. Learn about the three different • p.m. The CVA Gallery’s most anticipated fundraising types of tango as performed by highly

October 5–14

A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK • SINATRA. 8 p.m. (Thurs. – Sat.); 2 p.m. (Sun.) My

Way. A must-see musical that celebrates the mystique of Frank Sinatra and the music he made famous. The Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.ctgso.org.

October 6

ELSEWHERE PLAYSHOP. 2 – 4 p.m. Meet • in Elsewhere’s Kitchen Commons for a canning

and preserving playshop. Bring a Mason jar and help harvest Elsewhere’s alleyway garden. Cost: $5. Elsewhere, 606 S. Elm St., Greensboro. RSVP: education@goelsewhere.org. Info: (336) 303-1596 or www. goelsewhere.org.


Tickets: $15. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

GOT OPERA? 8 – 10:30 p.m. An evening • of grand opera arias sung by UNCG singers and

world-class alumni singers. Accompanied by full orchestra conducted by Dimitry Sitkovetsky. Tickets: $42/premium; $27/adult; $15/student. Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: opera.uncg.edu.


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October 2012

Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun


Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Food –&– Dining

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October 2012

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October Arts Calendar •

ANTHONY HAMILTON IN CONCERT. 8 p.m. Grammy Award-winning singer Anthony Hamilton’s “Back To Love Tour.” Tickets: $49.50, $59.50, 75. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensborocoliseum. com; www.AnthonyHamilton.com.

October 6–7

HANSEL & GRETEL. 3 – 4 p.m. The ballet • version of this favorite children’s story. Greensboro

outdoors. Tickets: $125. The Farm off Church Street, Greensboro. Info: www.triadlocalfirst.org.

DOCUMENTARY SCREENING. 8 – 9:30 • p.m. Louder Than a Bomb, which premiered on the

Oprah Winfrey Network in January 2012, follows four Chicago-area high school poetry teams as they prepare to compete in the world’s largest youth slam. Slam will be held in Greensboro April 2013. Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2712.

Cultural Center, Concert Hall, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Tickets: $7/adults; $5/children. Info: (336) 333-7480 or www.greensboroballet.org.

October 7 & 8

October 7

Anne Kiefaber, and her friends and students. Free. The Kiefaber Studio of Fine Arts, 909 Fairgreen Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 280-0589 or www. annekiefaber.com.

ART IN THE ARBORETUM. 12 – 5 p.m. • Regional juried art for sale in an outdoor gal-

ART EXHIBIT. 1 – 5 p.m. (Sun.); 6:30 – 9 p.m. • (Mon.) Annual exhibit features the work of owner

lery exhibit, plus entertainment on three stages, children’s activities and a food court. Greensboro Arboretum, 401 Ashland Dr., Greensboro. Info: www.17daysgreensboro.org.

October 8

Sunday supper prepared by chef Reto Biaggi, served

guest speakers include Curtis Strange, PGA Legend, and Sarah Strange, Breast Cancer Survivor. Tickets: $75. Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Season, Greensboro. Info: (336) 286-6620 or www.earlier.org.


FLASH FICTION WORKSHOP. 7 – 9 p.m. • Writers and editors from Press 53 will discuss its

popular weekly (and free) 53-Word Short Story Contest, as well as other exciting developments and trends in this literary genre. Reception and book signing follows. Greensboro Public Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617 or www.greensborolibrary.org.

October 12

OPEN MIC NIGHT AT TATE STREET. 7 p.m. • Poetry, storytelling and acoustic music. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

BEL CANTO AU NATUREL. 8 p.m. A concert • GATHERING OF FRIENDS DINNER. 7:30 – 10 that showcases the ensemble’s signature sounds in • p.m. Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test. Special new and cherished choral masterworks. Tickets:

October 9

NOON AT THE • SPOON. 12 p.m. A

20-minute docentled tour of the new Catherine Murphy: Falk Visiting Artist exhibition. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.


Zinc Kings. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

October 10


BISTRO. 7 – 9 p.m. Bruce Piephoff, folk singer. Southern Lights Bistro, 2415-A Lawndale Dr., Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-9414 or www. brucepiephoff.net.

October 11

ARTIST TALK. • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Juan Logan discusses new and recent large-scale works, mixed media

90 O.Henry October 2012 Romare Bearden, Poisedon, The Sea God, Collage, 1977, Thompson Collection, Indianapolis

collages, and works on paper. His solo exhibit, Without Stopping, is on view through December 16. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

• ••• •

Art Music/Concerts Key: Fun History Sports

$20/adults; $18/seniors; $5/students. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2220 or www.belcantocompany.com.

October 12 & 13

TOURING THEATRE OF NORTH • CAROLINA. 8 p.m. Encore performances of

Lee Smith’s “Tongues of Fire.” Tickets: $15. Congregational United Church of Christ, 400 Radiance Dr., Greensboro. Info: www.ttnc.org/ Tongues.html.

October 13

ART EXHIBIT OPENING. Romare Bearden: • A Black Odyssey. An artistic bridge between classical

mythology and African-American culture. On display through January 13, 2013. Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 758-5150 or www.reynoldahouse.org.

CRUISIN’ FOR CLUES. 6 p.m. High seas • drama and detective mystery plus a silent auction to

benefit Triad Adult and Pediatric Medicine. Proximity Hotel, 704 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Tickets: $60. Info: Heather at (336) 271-5999 ext. 311 or www. tapmedicine.com.

GREENSBORO TARHEEL CHORUS OPUS • CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Greg Zinke, conductor.

Free admission; donations welcome. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Info: www.city-arts.org.

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. Introductory • jitterbug lesson starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by live swing music. No partner or experience necessary. Members: $8. Nonmembers: $10. Vintage Theatre, 7 Vintage Avenue, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 5089998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

October 13–14

ARTSTOCK 2012. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Saturday); • 1 – 5 p.m. (Sunday) Annual Artist Studio Tour

Performing arts

• • Film


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October Arts Calendar

throughout the greater Greensboro area featuring over 50 individual artists exhibiting at 17 sites. Free and open to the public. Look for red balloons at each location. Artist listing and site addresses are available at www.artstocktour.com.

cert that showcases the ensemble’s signature sounds in new and cherished choral masterworks. Tickets: $20/adults; $18/seniors; $5/students. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2220 or www.belcantocompany.com.

October 14

October 17

around domestic violence, gender relations and gender stereotypes. Bring scissors, colleagues and friends. Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: www.theweddingdressproject.org.

cast members for an acclaimed behind the scenes look at Carmen. Cost: $19.99. O.Henry Hotel, 704 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. RSVP: (336) 725-7101. Info: www.piedmontopera.org.

WEDDING DRESS PROJECT. 1 – 6 p.m. An • artful way to raise awareness and inspire dialogue

GREATER GREENSBORO CROP HUNGER • WALK & RUN. 1:30 – 4 p.m. A community event

LA LUNCH WITH PIEDMONT OPERA. Join • Maestro James Allbritten and several of the principal

that raises funds to fight hunger. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 553-2656 or www.greatergreensborocropwalk.org.

October 14 – November 4

TRIAD STAGE MAINSTAGE. 7:30 p.m. (Sun., • Tues. – Thurs.); 8 p.m. (Fri. – Sat.); 2 p.m. (Sunday

• BEL CANTO AU NATUREL. 7:30 p.m. A con• • • • • Music/Concerts

Performing arts


read and sign her first novel, The Tender Void. Barnes & Noble, 3102 Northline Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-4200.

ENSEMBLE BABEL. • 7 – 8 p.m. In celebration

of the life of American composer and artist John Cage (1912-1992), ensemble baBel presents One 4, a score written by Cage in 1990 for Swiss percussionist Fritz Hauser. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

7 – 9 p.m. Bruce Piephoff, folk singer. Southern Lights Bistro, 2415-A Lawndale Dr., Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-9414 or www. brucepiephoff.net.

October 15 Art

BOOK SIGNING. • 7 p.m. Greta Medlin will


matinee). Shipwrecked! An Entertainment — The Amazing Adventures of Louis de Rougemont (as Told by Himself). Tickets start at $10. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 272-0160 or www. triadstage.org.


October 18


• • Fun




—Thank you—

to our sponsors of Dinner with O.Henry

benefitting the educational programs of the Greensboro Historical Museum, Inc. O.Henry Hotel and Green Valley Grill Bermuda Village Greensboro Day School Kriegsman — The Luxury Outerwear Store Margaret and Bill Benjamin Prudential Yost & Little Realty Ward Black Law — Dessert Sponsor





The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October 2012

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October Arts Calendar October 19

MUSIC FOR A GREAT SPACE. 7:30 • p.m. Timothy Olsen, organ. Christ United

Methodist Church, 410 Holden Rd., Greensboro. Tickets: Carolina Theatre Box Office at (336) 333-2605. Info: (336) 6387624 or www.musicforagreatspace.org.

LAND JAM 2012. 8 – 11 p.m. Tom • O’Brien, Darrell Scott and John Cowan headline a celebration of the work of Piedmont Land Conservancy. Tickets: $20. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

October 20

CORN HUSK DOLL MAKING. Discover • how Native Americans and early Quaker settlers

October 23

NC A&T UNIVERSITY HOMECOMING • FASHION SHOW. 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Get a sneak peek

used things from the natural environment to make toys. Cost: $1 per doll. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or www.highpointmuseum.org.

of the latest homecoming fashions modeled by Verge and Couture modeling troupes. Tickets: $15/general public; $10/NC A&T students. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

Cooking Series at the Edible Schoolyard. Learn healthy ways to make tacos even better. Lunch snacks available during class. Cost: $45/parent and child; $10/ each additional parent or child. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or www.gcmuseum.com.

Races Show on Earth!) A portion of the proceeds from each show will go toward the YWCA Stand Against Racism initiative. Limited seating. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Reservations: mrsoe. com/ticket-reservation-form.

COOKING TOGETHER: FAMILY TACO COMEDY TOUR. 9 – 10:30 p.m. A multicul• • NIGHT. 2 – 4:30 p.m. A Whole Foods Market Family tural comedy showcase called MRSOE! (The Most

ART EXHIBIT PREVIEW PARTY. 6:30 • – 9 p.m. Art on Paper: The 42nd Exhibition.

Visit us online at


Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

LIVE MUSIC AT TATE • STREET. 8 p.m. Todd Low. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

October 21

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 1 – 5 p.m. Art on Paper: The 42nd Exhibition. On display through January 13, 2013. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

October 25

THINK TANK THURSDAYS. 6:30 – 7:30 • p.m. Discover the connections between seemingly

unrelated ideas in this new series that looks at contemporary culture by pairing scholars with community experts. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

October 25


a.m. Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test. Featuring special guest speaker Shannon Miller, US Olympic Gold Medalist. Tickets: $75. Sheraton Greensboro Hotel at Four Season, Greensboro. Info: (336) 286-6620 or www.earlier. org.

October 25–28

UNCG THEATRE. • 7:30 p.m. (Oct. 25); 8 p.m.

(Oct. 26 & 27); 2 p.m. (Oct. 28). Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka. Directed by Christine Woodworth. A visceral blend of classical mythology and real life stories told by street kids. Tickets: $5. Brown Building Theatre, 402 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 3344849 or boxoffice.uncg.edu.

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October 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

October Arts Calendar

October 26

HALLOWEEN SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 • ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 9 p.m. Introductory jitterbug lesson starts at 7:30 • p.m. Annual Art & Design Student Exhibition. Center p.m., followed by live swing music. No partner or for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7475 or www.greensboroart.org.

experience necessary. Members: $6; Nonmembers: $8. Oriental Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 508-9998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

LIVE MUSIC AT TATE STREET. 8 p.m. • Todd Vertz. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St.,

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY POPS. 8 p.m. • The Three Phantoms in Concert. Ron Bohmer,

Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

October 26–28

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY GUILD TOUR OF HOMES. A musical journey through the heart of Greensboro featuring six beautiful homes. Proceeds benefit the educational programs of the Symphony Guild. Tickets: $20.88. Info: www.gsoguild.org.

October 26, 27 & 31

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW. 8 p.m. & • Midnight (Oct. 26 & 27); 8 p.m. (Oct. 31) Live on

Craig Schulman and Ciaran Sheehan, vocals. Nathaniel Beversluis, conductor. Featuring numbers from Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and The Phantom of the Opera. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 335-5456 x 224 or www. greensborosymphony.org.

English Foxhound

LIVE MUSIC AT TATE STREET. 8 p.m. Jake • MeInyk. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St.,

graphite on Canson paper

Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

stage. Tickets: $20/adults; $17/seniors & students. Open Space Café Theatre, 4094 Battleground Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 292-2285 or www.osctheatre. com.

$10/advance; $12/at the door. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

October 27

GHOST STORIES AT BLANDWOOD. 7 – 8 • p.m. Local storyteller Cynthia Moore Brown treats

families to ghostly tales in Blandwood’s front parlor. Space is limited. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Blandwood Mansion, 447 W. Washington St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-5003 or www.blandwood.org.

Pamela Powers January

FILM. 8 - 10 p.m. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. • Prop bags available for purchase while they last. Tickets:

FILM. Midnight – 2 a.m. The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Prop bags available for purchase while they last. Tickets: $10/advance; $12/at the door. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.








October 28

PIEDMONT OPERA BUS. 1 p.m. •Greensboro patrons can ride with fellow

operagoers to catch a 2 p.m. showing of Carmen presented by the Piedmont Opera in Winston Salem. Depart from Whole Foods at Friendly Center. Bus: $10. Opera tickets start at $15. Information: (336) 725-7101 or www. piedmontopera.org.

October 29

DOCUMENTARY FILM. 7 p.m. Carolina 85. A collaborative film about the history of the Carolina Theatre and Downtown Greensboro. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.


AGGIE HOMECOMING CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Music Talks. Concert features performances by Young Jeezy, Trey Songz, Big Sean, 2 Chainz and Elle Varner. Tickets: $39.50, $42.50. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.


• • Art


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

LIVE MUSIC AT LUCKY 32 SOUTHERN • KITCHEN. 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Skillet Fried Chicken

& Songs From a Southern Kitchen. Featuring Chef Jay’s skillet fried chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Info: (336) 370-0707.

• • Film


• • Fun


Friendly Shopping Center (336) 292-9396

Battleground Avenue (336) 288-8011

Sports October 2012

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October Arts Calendar MIC COMEDY AT THE IDIOT NIGHTMARES AROUND ELM STREET. 8 •BOX.OPEN • 9 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take p.m. A 90-minute historical candlelit ghost walking the mic. Admission: $4 (includes one drink). Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699.


MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 – 10 • p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15


JAZZ IN THE A.M. 11 a.m. Featuring saxophon• ist Alex Smith and friends. Tate Street Coffee House,

a bottle, live acoustic musice by AM rodeo. Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699.

334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.




(3 – 6 p.m.) Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Tate Street Coffee • House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336)

LIVE MUSIC AT TATE STREET COFFEE. • NC Hot Club (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) Gavin & Friends

Fridays & Saturdays

IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. (Fri. • and Sat.); 8 p.m. (Sat.). Actors create scenes

To add an event, e-mail us at ohcal@ohenrymag.com by the first of the month prior to the event.

on-the-spot and build upon the ideas of others. Performances based on suggestions given by the audience; each show is one-of-akind. Saturday 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. Tickets: $10/$7(students). Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/RSVP: 336-274-BOXX. Key:

• • Art

tour of Downtown Greensboro. Open Year-Round. Cost: $15/adults; $13/children 8-12. Children 7 and under are free. Group rates and online discounts available. Info: www.carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/ information.


Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun



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O.henry magazine p.O. Box 58, Southern pines, NC 28388

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Arts &CULTURE Bell C Be Canto anto A Au u Naturel Naturel October Oct ober 12 & 115, 5, 2012

‘Tis tthe he Season ason

December D ecemberr 1 & 33,, 2012

Amore Amor e

Season Seas on Tickets Tick ketss O On n Sale eN Now! ow!

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Bach’s Johannes-Passion Bach Johannes-P s-P Pas ssion March M arch 10, 201 2013 3

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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ȽȞǸȞȐѮ ȊɤȃǸɜȐѮ $ȽɕɌȨɑȐѱ V  P A | F S

The Robert E. Elberson Fine Arts Center THE 2012 BEVERLY JOHNSON PRITCHARD LECTURE

Butterfly’s Child - Angela Davis-Gardner Tuesday October 2 7:30 p.m.

Award-winning teacher and North Carolina native Angela Davis-Gardner discusses and reads from her latest novel, inspired by her love of Japanese culture. Saal, Single Sisters House, S. Church Street. Reception and book signing will follow event.


Cristy Lynn Brown, Mezzo Soprano Friday October 12 7:30 p.m.

Cristy Lynn Brown will perform vocal works by Handel, Dvorak, Poulenc and Elgar in her faculty debut recital with Barbara Lister-Sink at the piano.


Perspectives on the 2012 Presidential Elections Tuesday October 16 6:30 p.m.

A panel of Salem faculty will offer a non-partisan assessment of the 2012 presidential elections, comparing the election to previous races, as well as analyzing the candidates’ campaigns, policy proposals and economic plans. Panelists include Jennifer M. Piscopo, public policy; Daniel Prosterman, history; and Megan Silbert, economics. Club Dining Room, Corrin Refectory.


Tuesday November 6 7:30 p.m.

Free Radical: Ernest Chambers, Black Power and the Politics of Race - Tekla Ali Johnson Salem’s own Dr. Tekla Ali Johnson explores the fascinating story of the radical and revered Nebraska state senator, Ernest Chambers. It is the first published biography of Chambers’ career, a powerful account that documents an intellectual’s and a community’s struggle to repel the attacks of those who would abuse their authority against the African American citizenry. Reception and book signing will follow event.

www.salem.edu/culturalevents | 336/917-5313

All events held at the Robert E. Elberson Fine Arts Center, unless specified. The Elberson Fine Arts Center is located at 500 Salem Avenue, at the intersection of Salem Avenue and Ram’s Drive.

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& CULTURE 98 O.Henry

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GreenScene Dinner With O.Henry at the O.Henry Hotel Friday, September 21, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Mebane Ham, Wendy Lavine, Bill Roane

David Woronoff, Beth Adams

Jim Schlosser, David Bailey, Maria Johnson, David Woronoff

Judy, Carmen, Rascha & Jane Kreigsman

Jack, Mel, David & Bob Kreigsman

Wendy Dodson, Marty Hefner

Loretta Calhoun, Anna Mitchell, Carolyn Malone

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Camille Payton,Paul Daniels, Sherry Payton

John & Hattie Aderholdt

Ron Johnson, Anne Hurd

Anne & Sam Hummel

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mandy Ryan, Pam Murphy

The 5 by O. Henry cast

Jace Strandberg, Tyson Hammer, Matt Young

Summer Harpold, Nadia Moffett, Nancy Meyers

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Linda Evans, Joe Hoesl, Margaret Benjamin

Mary Ann & Allen Gerhard

Patrick Parrish, Lisa Anderson

Mark & Christy Yost

October 2012

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Run 4 the Downtown Greenway, Center City Park Saturday, September 15, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Suzette & John Redwine, Leahann Bowen-Schmitt

Amy & Todd Klass

(Back) Al Garvey, Hollie Shelton, Frank Garigan; (Front) Robin Gailey, Zack Gailey, Camden Shelton

Martin & Laura Pratt, Joe & Karen Whelby

Victoria Boschker, Chad Davis

Suzanne & Reid Wilcox

David Jones, Molly Burns

Quran & Talia Hall

Kapil Sampath, Nithya Maduraipillai

“Team WFMY”: Liz Crawford, Mike Fink, Lauren Melin, Taylor Overschmidt

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Pick up your copy of

at Greensboro & High Point Harris Teeter Stores, and from our blue boxes at the following distribution points:

2206 Hawthorne

Irving Park Estates, Greensboro

Lovely brick family home on a no-thru street. Master BR on main. 2story Family Room & entry, coffered ceiling. Great kitchen with center island & granite counter tops offers private views of gardens & patio. Bonus Room on upper level. Custom moldings & details throughout. Large custom wine closet in 3-car garage with glass doors. Must see! $699,000

Café Europa/Cultural Arts Cent. — 200 N. Davie St. Junior League Bargain Box — Friendly & Elm Natty Greene’s — 345 S. Elm St. Across from the Carolina Theatre — 315 S. Greene St. Triad Stage — 232 S. Elm St. Across from Civil Rights Museum — 134 S. Elm St. Smith Street Diner — 438 Battleground Ave. Corner of Elm & Bellemeade UPS/FED EX — 102 N. Elm St. Guilford County Courthouse — 201 S. Eugene St. Old Town Draught House —1205 Spring Garden St. Fish Bones — 2119 Walker Ave. J’s Deli — 4925 W. Market St. NC Farmers Market (Colfax) — 2914 Sandy Ridge Rd. Lox Stock & Bagel — 2439 Battleground Ave. Mark Holder Jeweller — 211 State St. Sister’s Jewelry — 330 Tate St. US Post Office — 4615 High Point Rd. Greensboro College Admin. Office — 815 W. Market St.

For a complete list of distribution points, please visit our website at www.ohenrymag.com and click on the “Where’s O.Henry” tab. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

803 Hood Place Old Irving Park, Greensboro 4BR/5 Full Baths/3 Half Baths – This French Style home has been totally remodeled. It sits on a quiet street overlooking Greensboro Country Club’s Golf Course. It boasts large rooms with Master Retreat, Guest Quarters, 4 Car Garage and Spectacular Grounds. Price upon request.

1006 Country Club Drive

Grand Living in Old Irving Park

Grand living and stylish entertaining are enjoyed at this palatial home. Stunning appointments adorn this magnificent four bedroom, four and one-half bath home. Set in the heart of Old Irving Park this home comprises approximately 6950 square feet of exhilarating living space where Brazilian cherry wood and custom stone tile floors extend throughout. Price upon request.

300 Parkmont Drive New Irving Park, Greensboro

4BR/3.5 BA -- Classic Brick Ranch completely updated. New roof in 2009. Hardwoods, Moldings, Master Suite with Dressing Area. Gourmet Kitchen/ Breakfast Bar/Stainless Appliances. Triple Zoned HVAC. Fenced Yard/Brick Patio. $499,000

“CLICK OR CALL… WE DO IT ALL” Xan Tisdale Kay Chesnutt 336-601-2337 336-202-9687

Yost and Little Realty

Xan.Tisdale@pruyostandlittle.com Kay.Chesnutt@pruyostandlittle.com October 2012

O.Henry 103

w Triad Local TriadFirst Local First

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


104 O.Henry


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Art & Soul of Greensboro Join Us:TheBuy Local


East-West BBQ Festival at Festival Park Downtown Saturday, September 8, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Jennifer & Alex Leoncini

Stacy Patterson, Samantha Gosper

Greensboro School of Ballet

Amy Forrest, David Dunnuck

Randy Seals

Jack Carter

Jan Kent, Heather Perry

Sunny Yarborough, Georgianna Harris, Galen Wilson

Madelyn Greco, Ogi Overman, Joy Greco

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Triad Local First



Local and organic fruits and vegetables, natural foods and supplements

3728 Spring Garden Street | (336) 292-9216 | www.deeprootsmarket.coop

We’re proud of the company we keep. • Berle • Bills Khakis • Bugatchi • Carnoustie • Cole Haan • Coppley • Alan Lebow • Charleston Khakis • LAUREN I Ralph Lauren • MacCluer • Marcello Italy

Gordon’s Menswear

3712 Lawndale Dr., next to The Fresh Market 286.2620 • Monday-Saturday 10-6

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

106 O.Henry


February/March 2012



The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Join Us: Buy Local

GreenScene 11th Annual Farmer’s Appreciation Day at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market Saturday, September 8, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Samantha Stewart, Mike Faucette

Temple & Tom Richardson

Claude & Tamara Smith

Elena Ling, Lynne Dardanell, Sarah Ling

Robert Roth, Charis Chia, Roxanne Snider

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ken Rudd, Cathy Baynes, Lewis Smith

Bryan McFarland

Tony Bono

Anne Chamblee, Dawn Leonard

Carmencita Shepperd, Donya Mullins

October 2012

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Learn more. Become more.

Westchester Country Day School Fall Open Houses: Grades PK, K, & 1 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, November 7

Grades PK-5 5:00 p.m. Thursday, November 15

Child care available Call today to RSVP: 336.822.4005 | www.westchestercds.org

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

AT GREENSBORO DAY SCHOOL, learning is about helping students DISCOVER AND DEVELOP their unique talents and strengths.

JOIN US TO LEARN MORE... Oct. 17: Be a MIDDLE School Bengal for a Day, 8:30 am-12:30 pm Oct. 25: PK-5 Admission Open House, 6:00 pm ;ĐŚŝůĚƌĞŶ ǁĞůĐŽŵĞ͖ ĚŝŶŶĞƌ ƉƌŽǀŝĚĞĚͿ

Reserve your spot for any of these events, or schedule a personal tour at your convenience.


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Life’s Funny

Squeezebox and Me In honor of Oktoberfest, a brief flirtation




hile waiting to be helped in a hardware store, I spied a flier advertising accordion lessons. Accordion lessons? In Greensboro? What the polka? On behalf of everyone who celebrates Oktoberfest — or as we Americans like to spell it, b-e-e-r — I decided to look into it. Plus, I thought I might learn something new, given that my accordion knowledge can be summed up in three images: Myron Floren pumping out polkas on the “Lawrence Welk Show.” Cartoon characters, such as Tom and Jerry and Wile E. Coyote, getting squished into accordions after an anvil, piano or some other heavy object drops on their heads. Roger Daltrey of The Who, singing “Mama’s got a squeezebox she wears on her chest/ When daddy gets home he never gets no rest.” With this foundation, I called the accordion teacher, Jonathan Patterson, who agreed to give me a primer on the instrument in case I ever wanted to, you know, break out some oompahs ’round the fire pit. A little of my musical background: I played the acoustic guitar briefly as a child, retiring at the top of my game after mastering “Little Brown Jug” in Book 2 of “Guitar for Beginners.” I also flirted with the recorder in fourth grade. OK, it was mandatory, but I like to think I had a natural talent for PVC-based woodwinds. Finally — and this is important — I know an octave has something to do with eight. Eight notes. Eight chords. Eight concert T-shirts. Eight something. Jonathan Patterson has an impressive musical background, too. He grew up in northeast Ohio, with lots of Polish and German and Italian influences around. When he was 6, he and his sister discovered an accordion at their grandmother’s house. It turns out that accordions in northeast Ohio are like old Cheerwine bottles around here. They’re in attics, garage sales, roadside dumps, your granny’s house. Everywhere. Anyway, Jonathan and his sis figured out that if one person worked the accordion’s bellows, and the other person worked the keys, the result sounded like an asthmatic cat in heat. Well, Jonathan was charmed. He took piano lessons, but continued to mess around with the little wheezer. At 10, he asked for accordion lessons. His father said “Huh?” His mother said, “Yes.” Jonathan’s teacher wouldn’t let him play polkas at first. He said if he did, everything Jonathan played afterward would sound like a polka. So The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Jonathan played classical and jazz. Yep, Bach and Mozart on the accordion. Told you this would be a learning experience. Well, Jonathan got so good that he competed at national accordion smack downs. I suspect accordion people call them something else, but let’s face it, accordions could use a little help in the excitement department, and I think Squeeze-Box Smack Down has a nice ring to it. You accordion people will thank me later. I asked Jonathan about the atmosphere at these smack downs. For example: Was there a lot of trash talk? “Man, my granny’s got bigger bellows than that.” And what does one wear to an accordion smack down? Jonathan reported that some contestants wore short green pants with suspenders and Robin Hood hats with feathers. At this point, I started to worry about our boy Jonathan, but then — thank you, Jesus — he said he wore long black pants, a white shirt and an occasional fedora for that Sinatra look. When the time for college rolled around, Jonathan decided against an accordion conservatory (who knew?) and studied piano at Liberty University in Virginia. That’s where he met his wife, Ainsley. Now, both of them attend UNCG’s music school, where Jonathan’s working on a master’s degree in music theory and Ainsley is working on a bachelor’s in vocal performance. In fact, they were at a music-school party earlier this year when Jonathan and his accordion jumped in to accompany a pianist doing Billy Joel tunes (“Uptown Fräulein”? “An Innocent Burgermeister”?). That’s when someone from Moore Music asked Jonathan if he would consider giving accordion lessons because it’s been a long time since anyone taught accordion around here. Jonathan said yes, and that’s how I came to be sitting with an accordion on my lap, left hand on buttons, right hand on keyboard. Jonathan showed me how to use my left hand to play a simple chord while using my right hand to play three notes: Oom, pah and pah. Like most things, playing the accordion is harder than it looked. You have to pump the bellows the whole time, and if you’re a woman, you have to be careful not to get certain parts caught in the bellows. Let’s just say this mama will not be wearing a squeezebox on her chest again anytime soon. But lucky for the local accordion scene, Jonathan Patterson will. He’s available for weddings, Oktoberfests and other gigs. He’d like to sit in with a bluegrass band. He believes the accordion is poised for resurgence. A number of indie groups — including Pomplamoose and The Dresden Dolls — use the accordion. And the accordion is big in Brazil, site of the next Summer Olympics. Perhaps the mascot will reflect that. A cat named Tomás. A hammer-throwing mouse. Anything could happen. OH October 2012

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O.Henry Ending

Robert Watson is Everywhere We know this because he told us so BY JIM CLARK


ributes abound for a poet, teacher and confessed “Halloween Freak.” It really was a dark and stormy night. I was in a restaurant on Tate Street, The Filling Station, when a gust blew the door open and a figure with dark shaggy eyebrows stepped in, staring at the patrons. “Jeez, who’s that, he looking for trouble?” I asked. “No,” someone said. “That’s Robert Watson. That poet you wanted to meet. And he’s just looking . . .” That’s the memory flashing in my mind this past February, some 40 years later, when Fred and Susan Chappell called to say Robert Watson, a founder of our UNCG MFA Writing Program, had died. For many of us, it was a challenge to see who could spot Bob Watson in the most places in one day: driving, often with his artist wife, Betty, sometimes walking alone, always looking. Bob Watson, it seemed, was everywhere, as if by magic. And magic was one thing he believed in. “The world would fall apart without magic,” he once told me. In his poem “God as Magician,” God has the whole universe up his sleeve, palming it out with a bang. Nothing surprised Bob. “Maybe an angel will fly in my window.” But he often surprised us. Yes, his baby doctor was the famous poet William Carlos Williams. Yes, once he and Betty lived in California next to a ranch and these nice hippie girls and this short little guy named Charlie would bring them freshly baked loaves of bread. The ranch, the Spahn Ranch. He would regale his students and colleagues with stories of places he had visited, people he’d encountered, things he had seen: “Now, at Provincetown, Norman Mailer would sometimes get angry . . . ” or “Yes, Betty and I had Flannery O’Connor to dinner, the quietest woman I ever met.” Back in 1989, when Bob retired, we did a “Retrospective” celebration of his life and work, and in the middle of this “roast” the fire alarm mysteriously went off and soon firemen with axes were running up and down the aisles, while Bob watched admiringly as if this were all part of the show. That year we also did a Watson tribute issue of The Greensboro Review, our literary journal he helped start in 1965. The issue featured poems, stories and essays dedicated to him and his work. The cover stock for this special issue was pumpkin orange, a nod to Bob’s favorite holiday, Halloween. In one of his poems, “Riding a Motorcycle,” the narrator on Halloween asks if he can “frighten the dead back to bed.” Bob, a confessed “Halloween freak,” believed the world is really in touch with the dead on Halloween. “Halloween is when the dead are abroad, and we dress up in costumes to scare them back into the grave so they won’t go haunting us.” One rainy Halloween night, we were in Greensboro’s literary watering hole, the Pickwick, looking out on the street, watching trick-or-treaters go by. Bob

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whispered, “I don’t think the dead are really dead.” Our associate director of the MFA Writing Program is Terry Kennedy, and for the last several years, one of our greatest pleasures was joining Bob for lunch or dinner. Before we ate, Bob would always make us one of his gin martinis, made just the way Hemingway would approve, he’d add. The last time Terry and I had dinner with him was at one of his favorite restaurants, Table 16, on Elm Street. We sat at the table near the front window so we could watch the street. He ordered the wonderful chef’s tasting menu for us, and we talked for hours. At the wake for Bob at their Wellspring house, Betty had put out a photograph of Bob, watching us as we ate and admired the famous map on their wall dotted with pins for all the places on the globe they had visited. Bob always liked the extreme edges of continents, where he felt the extreme people lived. Since Bob’s death, Terry, who also edits storySouth, has published a number of tributes to Bob from former students and colleagues, and UNCG’s Alumni Magazine published an extensive story, “Legacy of Robert Watson” (http://ure.uncg.edu/magazine/2012_summer/feature_robertwatson.htm ), including excerpts from Bob’s last reading on campus in September on the occasion of the publication of his Complete Poems. On Saturday, November 3, at 2 p.m. in UNCG’s Alumni House, he will be honored once again by nearly fifty years of his former students and colleagues at the MFA Writing Program’s first Homecoming. But before then, Terry and I plan to honor him in our own way. On Halloween we will be at Table 16 on Elm Street, and we will order a martini and make a toast to Bob. And I am sure, especially if it is a dark and stormy night and partygoers in costumes are haunting the street, if we look real close, we just might see Bob Watson, walking or driving by, looking, watching. After all, anything is possible, and the dead are not really dead. We know this because he told us so. OH Jim Clark is the director of the MFA Writing Program at UNCG and editor of The Greensboro Review. He can be reached at jlclark@uncg.edu. Illustration By Harry Blair The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Is this black pump right or would a black flat look better? Or would you look better with shoes that match your skirt? We agonize daily about how we look on the outside. But what about how we look on the inside? Ask to have your next mammogram at The Breast Center of Greensboro Imaging, a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence in Greensboro, as designated by the American College of Radiology. Our radiologists have been sub-specialty trained to better serve you and the needs of your physician.

Request The Breast Center at your next gynecological visit. Call to make an appointment or visit our website for a complete list of services and locations.



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